Company Overview and Patent Portfolio
Intel is an American manufacturer of semiconductor chips and was founded in 1968. With 100,100 employees, they are smaller than the sample average, and despite only having had € 41.7 bn in sales in 2011, they had a high R&D intensity with a R&D expenditure of € 6.5 bn.
Region and Number of Patent Application
From 1992 to 2006, Intel has had a large growth in patent activity but since then, it has heavily declined, although the numbers from 2011-2013 show that Intel has managed to turn the decline around into new growth. Given Intel’s high investment in R&D, they have a low amount of patent applications published. Especially considering that the R&D investment in 2011 was € 6.5 bn, much higher than the sample average of € 4.9 bn, while their number of applications published in 2007-2012 was just 19,168 compared to the sample average of 33,938. For 2011-2013, they have decreased the gap, but they maintain a low rate of patent applications published compared to their R&D investment.
When analysing Intel’s forward citations, it could be expected that the high R&D intensity would result in an accordingly high patent quality. Compared to the sample, they are just above average. However as shown in the figure below, they are not the main citer of their own patents, but a close second. Compared to the citation analysis of the other IT-companies, it can be concluded that Intel is making technology that is of interest to the rest of the industry, as they are not themselves dominating their citations.
The monopoly might have caused Intel to slow down pace in the technological race, as they are already far ahead of the nearest competition. There might also have been a shift in their technological focus, towards new areas where they can expand their business. This shift may easily have caused the slowdown in both activity and patent immediacy, as they are still trying to find solid ground in new business areas. Even though the above is just speculation, it is clear that Intel needs to improve both the immediacy and patent activity if they want remain a big player in the IT-industry. Today, they are the dominating company in the market for server and desktop microprocessors, but the IT-industry is moving away from stationary devices and towards mobile devices, where there are already established competitors. This means that Intel’s biggest market is no longer growing as it used to; instead new markets are capitalising on their current cash cow. The low patent activity, immediacy and dominance makes Intel fall into the loser category of Campbell’s (1983) company types.
Analysis of the Patent Portfolio (PDF)
You can find the complete patent portfolio analysis of Intel below: