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Patent Wars: Who is Winning the Battle for Tech Innovation Supremacy?

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Patent Wars: The Battle for Tech Innovation

In the technology industry, the imperative to innovate is never-ending.

After all, the speed of technological change is exponential – and if a company like Microsoft or Google misses one important trend, it can drastically alter the direction of future prospects.

For the above reasons, both tech giants and unicorns are laser-focused on hiring the best engineering talent available, and deploying it to come up with the new innovations, business models, and game-changing products that they feel comfortable betting their futures on.

The Patent War Visualized

Today’s interactive visualization comes to us from The UK Domain, and it shows the amount of patents won by tech giants as well as unicorn startups.

Specifically, it pulls data from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, categorizing hundreds of thousands of patents by company, technology, and even CEO.

While the data is quite comprehensive, it’s also worth noting that recent years of data may be incomplete because there is up to an 18-month lag between patent registration and those patents becoming public.

Who’s Winning the Battle?

Here is a look solely at the quantity of patents awarded over recent years:

Overall patents awarded

Interestingly, the list tends to skew towards companies with a hardware focus, even though many of their software counterparts are larger in terms of market capitalization.

For example, Samsung has 138,934 patents registered, which is more than Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Uber, and Netflix combined.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. – better known as Foxconn – is also one of the highest-ranking companies on the list with 25,356 patents, about the same amount as its partner company Apple.

Unicorn Lightweights

Unicorns, which are startups valued at over $1 billion, also have a tough time competing with the tech giants on the patent front.

Number of unicorn patents
Note: it looks like the source has included both public and private companies on this “unicorn” list

Many unicorns are newer companies, which means that the 18-month lag in patents entering the public domain may have a considerable effect on totals.

Still, it’s amazing to see that companies like Uber and Lyft – two competitors that have confidentially filed to go public in 2019 – have fewer than 200 patents between them.

Even if you combine all patents by the companies on the above chart, it works out to roughly 1,000 registered patents. To put that in perspective, that’s not even equal to 1% of Samsung’s gigantic total.

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What Would $5,000 Invested in Nvidia Be Worth Today?

Small fortunes have been made for those investing in Nvidia stock. But how much would have they earned if they bought before it skyrocketed?

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What Would $5,000 Invested in Nvidia Be Worth Today?

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Investing in Nvidia has been highly lucrative, especially for investors who got in early.

As America’s largest chipmaker, its stock price has soared given its critical role in powering AI. Last year alone, its share price jumped 272%, vaulting it into becoming one of the world’s most valuable companies.

This graphic shows how much a $5,000 investment in Nvidia would have grown over time, based on data from Yahoo Finance.

Investing in Nvidia Before the AI Boom

Below, we show how much an investment in Nvidia would have increased in value over the last several decades:

Year Invested (January 1st)Stock PriceStarting ValueValue Today (as of Feb 15, 2024)
2000$0.77$5,000$4,718,052
2010$3.85$5,000$943,610
2015$4.80$5,000$756,854
2020$59.11$5,000$61,460
2023$195.37$5,000$18,595

For those who bought in 2000, a $5,000 investment would be worth over $4.7 million today, with Nvidia’s stock price rising 94,261% over the time period.

At the time, Nvidia had just invented its graphics processing unit (GPU), which allowed computer graphics to render more seamlessly in video games and video editing. These high-performance units complete complex computing tasks, and Nvidia was creating leading technology at the time.

Over the last decade, Nvidia has increasingly focused on AI technology, with key developments launching as early as 2012. Yet it was not until 2020 when its share price really began to soar as the company’s end customer segments increasingly became data centers and cloud computing, alongside video games.

In fact, since 2020 alone, its share price has soared 1,129%—making a $5,000 investment worth twelve times as much today.

So far this year, its stock price shows no sign of stopping, driven by its outsized role in the AI chipmaking market. Roughly 70% of all chips are sold by Nvidia, outpacing key competitor AMD by a landslide.

The company’s Q4 revenues topped $22 billion, setting another historical record, amounting to a 265% year-over-year increase in revenues. In 2023, Nvidia sold 2.5 million chips with customers including OpenAI, Microsoft, Meta Platforms, and Alphabet. The price range for these chips can span anywhere from $16,000 to $100,000.

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