Japanese Firms Top U.S. in 1989 Patents

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Japanese Firms Top U.S. in 1989 Patents WASHINGTON - More Japanese than American companies ranked among the top 10 recipients of U.S. patents in 1989, the Commerce Department said Friday. Half of the top 10 spots went to Japanese firms and four of those companies outranked any American company, the department's Patent and Trademark Office said. Three U.S. companies were in the top 10 for the fiscal year which ended last Sept. 30.

The largest number of patents went to Japan's Hitachi Corp., marking the fourth year in a row that a Japanese company has occupied the top position. Hitachi, which received 1,053 patents, was followed by three other Japanese companies in the top spots. Toshiba received 961 patents; Canon, 949, and Fuji Photo Film had 884.

General Electric Co., which had held the top spot from 1969 until 1986, was the top American company on the list with 818 patents, dropping to fifth place from fourth last year. Other American companies in the top 10 were International Business Machines Corp., No. 9 with 623 patents, and Eastman Kodak Co. in 10th place with 589 patents. …