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Tech companies occupy top of the patent heap


Google, Samsung and Apple are filing for patents at an increasing rate as a defensive measure in an uncertain and litigious world for tech innovators.

Their patent race with one another and competitors has for the first time pushed chemical and medical companies off the Top 50 list of patent awardees — and signs indicate the tech industry’s patent dominance will continue in coming years.

Fueling this patent race have been the smartphone and tablet wars, which have pitted tech companies against one another in courts — and stores — worldwide. But there is also uncertainty as the U.S. shifts to a first-to-file patent syste...