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Qualcomm Makes Worldwide Patent Top 10 List

Aired 1/16/14 on KPBS News.

Qualcomm added more than 2,000 patents to the company's portfolio in 2013. That put the firm on the top 10 list among international companies for 2013.

Qualcomm has cracked the world's top 10 list for the number of patents awarded in a year. The San Diego-based company was one of only three American firms on the list.

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The wireless technology company landed in ninth spot in 2013 with 2,103 patents. That's up sharply from the 1,292 patents Qualcomm added in 2012. That 62 percent gain also pushed them up from their 17 place ranking that year.

Qualcomm joined IBM and Microsoft as the only U.S. companies among the top 10.

Roger Martin is a senior vice president of intellectual property at Qualcomm. The ranking, he said, is a reflection of both the size of the company and the firm's commitment to research and development. He said R&D spending lagged during the recession, but the company reinvested once the economy improved.

"It is not so much a change in business model or a philosophy about patents," Martin said. "We've always been protecting our innovation. It is reflective of the success of the company and how it came out of the last recession."

Qualcomm has more than 50,000 patents in its portfolio, according to Martin. The patents involve everything from how cell phones transmit and receive large amounts of data, to technology that allows for wireless links to smart devices in the home.

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