Australia may be better known as a land of beaches, kangaroos, and more recently coal and iron ore mines. But it is also the home of two of the top three patent filing inventors worldwide. This is the surprising outcome from a list of leading patent global filers compiled on Wikipedia, which provides a list of all inventors known to have filed more than 300 patent families.
The top ten inventors on this list are:
1) Heading the list of leading inventors is Australian Kia Silverbrook (1958 - ) , who led the development of the Memjet printer. Memjet claims to be the world's fastest printer, using 70,400 jets per printhead to shoot millions of drops per second from a full width printing head to full print colour pages at a rate of up to 60 pages per minute. As of 3 September 2012, Kia Silverbrook was listed as the inventor for 9,727 individual patents or patent applications (Espacenet), 4,457 being granted US patents. 757 of these patents were granted in 2011 alone.
According to Patentbuddy, the patent filed by Kia Silverbrook with the most forward citations is US6439908, Power supply for a four color modular printhead (filed in 2002), with 248 forward citations.
2) In second position is Shunpei Yamazaki (1942 - ) from Japan, who heads the research company Semiconductor Energy Laboratory , which is mainly focused on new display, solar cell and energy storage technologies. Yamazaki has a total of 11,399 patents or patent applications listed in Espacenet, with 2933 of these being granted US patents, including 163 patents granted in 2011.
The patent filed by Semiconductor Energy Laboratory with the highest forward citation counts is US5,643,826 Method for manufacturing a semiconductor device (1994), with 1098 forward citations.
3) Third in the list is another Australian, Paul Lapstun (19?? - ). Paul is a colleague of the prolific Kia Silverbrook, and has 3123 patents to his name worldwide, 1200 of these being granted US patents (268 granted in 2011). The patent listing Paul Lapstun as an inventor with the highest forward citation count is US6,720,985 Method and system for object selection (2004), with 140 forward citations.
4) In fourth position is the famed American inventor Thomas Edison (1847-1931). Edison has been credited with 2,332 patents worldwide, 1093 patents in the US. Citation data in electronic form is not easily available, but among his famous of his patents is US223,898 Electric Lamp (1880) , which includes the following claim for an invention that has underpinned incandesent light bulbs every since:
2. The combination of carbon filaments with a receiver made entirely of glass and conductors passing through the glass, and from which receiver the air is exhausted, for the purposes set forth.
5) In fifth position is the Canadian George Albert Lyon (1882-1961). George Lyon is credited with 993 patents, including the automobile bumper which is disclosed in US1325728 Automobile-buster (1917).
6) Closely behind (#6) is the fellow Canadian Leonard Forbes (1940 - ), with 999 granted US patents out of 1338 total patents, mainly in the semi-conductor area. Among these is US6150687 Memory cell having a vertical transistor with buried source/drain and dual gates (1997), with 245 forward citations.
7) Next on the list is the US florist Donald Weder (1947 - ). Weder has filed 1940 patents worldwide, of which 975 are granted US patents. These include US4733521 Cover forming apparatus (1986). This patent describes a method of forming covers for flowerpots, and has 709 forward citations.
8) Fellow American John F. O'Connor (1864 - 19??) is in eighth position. In contrast to floral suppliers, O'Connor specialised in railway components, and filed 949 US patents during his lifetime. These include US982086 Fastening mechanism for refrigerator car doors (1910), which looks remarkably similar to closing mechanism still used on truck doors today.
9) In ninth position is the Indian born/US resident Gurtej Sandhu (1960 - ), who has 1568 patents worldwide, including 953 granted US patents. Sandhu works in the areas of semi-conductors, including US patent 5240552 Chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) of a semiconductor wafer using acoustical waves for in-situ end point detection (1993), with 316 forward citations.
10) Rounding out the top ten is the American Melvin De Groote (1896 - 1963), who filed 925 US patents in the area of chemical demulsifers. These include US patent 1844883 Process for preventing accumulation of solid matter from oil wells (1927), which has just one claim:
A process for preventing the accumulation of solid matter in an oil well or pipe line, which consists in introducing a minute quantity of carbon bisulphide into a substantially clean well or oil line that is producing or which contains non-cutting oil for the purpose of preventing the solid material in the liquid flowing through the well casing or oil line from adhering to and collecting on same.
So in total, this list of the ten leading inventors comprises four Americans, two inventors each from Australia and Canada, one Japanese and one Indian. The technologies that these inventors have worked on have ranged from simple to very advanced. Some of the inventors are from an earlier era, and some are still actively inventing today. Some of the older patented technologies are still in use today, such as the incandescent light bulb and railway doors.
Even the ten placed person on this list has almost 1000 patents to their name, and the rest have patent filing counts in their thousands. By any measure these are remarkable achievements, and should be recognised as such.