bednarz writes "It's official: IBM has dominated the U.S. patent race for two decades. IBM earned 6,478 utility patents last year, topping the list of patent winners for the 20th year in a row, according to data published today from IFI CLAIMS Patent Services. Samsung was the second most prolific patent winner, with 5,081 patents received in 2012, followed by Canon (3,174), Sony (3,032), Panasonic (2,769), Microsoft (2,613), Toshiba (2,447), Hon Hai Precision Industry (2,013), GE (1,652), and LG Electronics (1,624). Earning its first appearance among the top 50, Google increased its 2012 patent count by 170% to 1,151 patents and landed at 21 in IFI's rankings, up from 65 in 2011. Google narrowly beat Apple, which earned 1,136 patents (an increase of 68%) and landed at 22 in the rankings."