2001: A big year for patents

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With sales of semiconductor equipment and material hitting all time lows, it's no secret that 2001 was not a good year for many manufacturers. However, it was a stellar year for those companies acquiring patents that will enable them to move forward to the next-generation technology node. In 2001, approximately 29,839 US patents were issued, an increase of 1,380 over 2000 and 2,571 more than those issued in 1999. Topping the list for three years in a row is IBM, while NEC and Canon remained in second and third place for all three years, respectively. To view one of the many patents issued to Samsung Electronics Co., in 2001, see Inventors Corner on page 24. In 2001, Samsung dropped one spot from fourth to fifth, with 1,451 patents issued. —MV

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