Canon sets a new innovation record, ranking top 5 in patents for 38 years in a row


Canon is a great technological innovator and pushes new ideas at a consistent rate. This has been echoed by the official US patent rankings for 2023, where Canon placed fifth for the total number of new patents filed by companies – which makes it the 38th consecutive year that it has been in the top five. True consistency!

We often write stories of Canon's latest patent submissions, typically focusing on its camera and lens systems, many of which have been implemented in the best Canon cameras on the market today. Due to its innovative nature, Canon has transitioned successfully into creating state-of-the-art mirrorless cameras and lenses for photographers, filmmakers and other industries, such as medicine and science.

Based on the ranking of preliminary patents, published this month by IFI Claims Patent Services, Canon ranks fifth for the number of US patents awarded in 2023 with a staggering 2,890 across its four business groups: printing, imaging, medical and industrial. Many patents get submitted, but to be ranked so highly for those that are approved is a testament to unique innovations and smart acquisitions.

In addition to coming fifth of companies overall, Canon also took the number one spot for specifically Japanese businesses in the same rankings – a streak that it has held for 19 consecutive years.


"Canon actively promotes the globalization of its business and places great value on obtaining patents overseas, carefully adhering to a patent-filing strategy that pursues patents in essential countries and regions while taking into consideration the business strategies and technology and product trends unique to each location," said the manufacturer.

By just looking at its imaging systems, recent patent submissions suggest that innovation has not slowed heading into 2024. Patents for a tilting viewfinder, camera body haptic feedback and camera phone technology are among the many designs submitted in recent months, and may be implemented in new camera technology.

Canon fans are eagerly anticipating news on the new Canon EOS R1, which will no doubt implement new technologies and push the boundaries of mirrorless cameras even further. Recent rumors suggest a shooting rate of 240fps!

It is worth noting that submitting, and even being awarded, patents does not mean that the technology will ever make it to market. Often they are granted for testing and R&D purposes, and I'm sure many never see the light of day. But the fact that Canon is among the top innovators of new tech can only be a good thing for us photographers and the photographic landscape at large.

For more information on Canon technology, you might be interested in our guides to the best Canon RF Lenses, the best Canon superzoom lenses, and the best Canon flashguns.