The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted 219,614 patents in 2010, a 31 percent increase over 2009, according to statistics from IFI Claims, a division of Fairview Research that tracks patent grants.

As usual, IBM topped the list–this time with 5,896 patents, a 20 percent increase over 2009. Among those, Big Blue pointed to patents for monitoring and reporting earthquakes based on data from computer hard-drive accelerometers, for using short-range wireless communication among vehicles to provide traffic information, and for optoelectronic devices with light detectors for silicon photonics chips that communicate using light rather than electrical signals.

Next on the Top 10 list are Samsung Electronics, with 4,551 patents; Microsoft, with 3,094; Canon, with 2,552; Panasonic, with 2,482; Toshiba, with 2,246; Sony, with 2,150; Intel, with 1,653; LG Electronics, with 1,490; and Hewlett-Packard, with 1,480.

For more on this story, read U.S. patent awards surge in 2010; IBM still tops on CNET News.

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  • What do IBM make?
    There was a story not so long ago, apparently IBM had patented some blokes heap checker, and their claim to be different was that the heap checker would be placed in the OS, instead of the app…

    Sounds like the worlds biggest patent troll.

    Here was the hard disk earth quake detector, from 2006:

    2006: “A damaged drive led US technology consultant Michael Stadler to realise that these sensors might also be able to detect the seismic vibration caused by an earthquake. “

    “And IBM’s patent was applied for a year later in 2007 by two different IBM people. U.S. Patent #7,693,663 was issued to inventors Robert Friedlander and James Kraemer “

Wow, big blue is coming back behind the scenes in a big way.