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Mary Bellis

Who Holds The Most Patents?

By January 16, 2008

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I get asked this question often, "Which inventor patented the greatest number of inventions?" It is a difficult question to answer since the United States Patent and Trademark office does not keep track of who the most prolific inventors are. However, in November of 2007 Condé Nast Portfolio released an article* about the most profilic inventors after doing some private research to determine who had been granted the most U.S. patents. The following are the most prolific living inventors according to Condé Nast:
  • U.S. patents: 1,811 - Japanese inventor, Shunpei Yamazaki age 65 mostly in the field of L.C.D.'s memory chips
  • U.S. Patents: 1,646 - Australian inventor, Kia Silverbrook age 49 mostly in the field of high-tech paper and printers
  • U.S. Patents: 1,350 - American inventor, Donald Weder age 60 mostly in the field of decorative packaging
  • U.S. Patents: 485 - American inventor, Joseph Straeter age 46 mostly in the field of decorative packaging
  • U.S. Patents: 674 - Gurtej Sandhu age 47 in the field of memory and imaging chips
  • U.S. Patents: 671 - Leonard Forbes age 67 in the field of memory and imaging chips
  • U.S. Patents: 635 - Warren Farnworth age 53 in the field of memory and imaging chips
  • U.S. Patents: 612 - Salman Akram age 40 in the field of memory and imaging chips
  • U.S. Patents: 515 - Mark Gardner age 52 in the fields of computer chips, consumer electronics, and energy
* Masters of Invention
February 14, 2009 at 10:38 pm
(1) Jimi Whitten says:

I think they forgot Edison, I believe he had over 1200.

June 29, 2009 at 5:54 pm
(2) paul says:

also how about percy julian and nikola tesla

August 4, 2009 at 5:06 pm
(3) jon says:

search Melvin DeGroote. He had 950 U.S. patents (according to Time Magazine)

November 20, 2009 at 11:21 am
(4) HI says:

Thomas Edison had a total of 1093 inventions

December 24, 2009 at 11:41 am
(5) S Flummox says:

These inventors are still living- they could conceivably go far beyond even these amazing numbers. That said, the whole point of patents is to encourage innovation, and not give individuals bragging rights.

#1 seems like he might be a jerk, #2 may be grandiose ideas without substance, and #3′s contributions to society don’t seem so grand upon closer examination.

The inventor (no longer living) I admire most wasn’t interested in having any patents.

May 10, 2010 at 12:41 pm
(6) Reb says:

Julian, Tesla and Edison aren’t alive so they wouldn’t be on a list of most prolific living inventors.

October 7, 2011 at 12:52 am
(7) Chris says:

Because the people from patent office don’t know what Mr. Yamazaki was inventing, it took him 1,810 tries into perfecting the lcd. And at 1,811 he said perfection………

December 10, 2011 at 11:33 am
(8) JakeZ says:

The article mentions this is a list of living inventors, hence no edison or tesla.

December 10, 2011 at 11:35 am
(9) JakeZ says:

…also, I like that Einstein only has one. This list clearly isn’t a list of intelligence or “greatness”.

July 4, 2012 at 7:19 am
(10) MostorAstrakan says:

I would hazard a guess that most patents are actually not held by the original inventor. Today, patents are mostly used to claim ownership of other people’s ideas. Microsoft, Apple, I’m looking at you!

July 30, 2012 at 8:02 pm
(11) deltron says:

Edison had 1093 US patents and about 1200 more from other countries. The article only lists inventors still alive though.

November 10, 2012 at 9:04 pm
(12) nikola Tesla says:

Edison stole one of my inventions, then I quit. He owned a factory that hired inventors and Edison took credit for everything. Even the light bulb, which he never invented but bought the patent rights from an Englishman named Swan and then after Swan died, re-filed the patent in HIS name.

Edison was DEAF. How can a deaf man invent a phonograph.

Don’t believe the myth and propaganda.. Edison simply took credit for the inventions of those who worked for him- Like Bill Gates.. he never programed the Operating System Windows, but he gets the money and the credit because he owns the company.

April 2, 2013 at 8:32 am
(13) really? says:

yah but doesn’t beethoven compose beautiful music even though he is deaf?

July 12, 2013 at 12:49 pm
(14) Dr.A.Jagadeesh says:

Excellent list of Inventors with high number of Patents.
Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

September 5, 2013 at 10:00 pm
(15) GEORGE says:

Edwin Land the inventor of instant photos and Polarizing film and founder of the original Polaroid Corporation had 535 US patents and over 1200 international patents.

November 6, 2013 at 9:22 am
(16) name: NOT NEEDED!! says:

This list is incomplete. Edison had just over 1000 patents.

January 16, 2014 at 6:56 pm
(17) Nikola says:

Edison is a lier and a theif he deserves nothing except a shame to his pathetic name

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