An analysis of U.S. patents done by Fairview Research reveals that Facebook has made a significant surge in its year-over-year ranking for patents granted in 2019, something partly owed to its increased number of patents surrounding augmented reality. The news was first reported by Bloomberg.

The social media giant is still only in 36th place for companies granted U.S. patents, which in 2019 tallied a total of 989. This represents a 64 percent increase over the number of patents granted to the company in 2018 however, which consequently bumped the company up the rankings by an astounding 22 places.

Here’s a quick look at the top ten in comparison to Facebook, courtesy of Fairview Research:

Organization 2019 Grants 2018 Grants % Change Rank Change
1 International Business Machines Corp 9,262 9,100 2 0
2 Samsung Electronics Co Ltd 6,469 5,850 11 0
3 Canon Inc 3,548 3,056 16 0
4 Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC 3,081 2,353 31 3
5 Intel Corp 3,020 2,735 10 -1
6 LG Electronics Inc 2,805 2,474 14 -1
7 Apple Inc 2,490 2,160 15 2
8 Ford Global Technologies LLC 2,468 2,123 16 2
9 Amazon Technologies Inc 2,427 2,035 19 3
10 Huawei Technologies Co Ltd 2,418 1,680 44 6
36 Facebook Inc 989 602 64 22


Bloomberg notes that Facebook’s ‘Optical Elements’ category showed a nearly six-fold jump year-over-year, tallying a total of 169 patents. A majority of that growth however is said to come from the ‘Heads-Up Displays’ sub-category, which can either serve augmented or virtual reality depending on its intended use.

Of the many granted, here’s a few of the most interesting AR/VR patents we’ve found:

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Thinks AR/VR is a Solution to the Housing Crisis

Outside of optimal element-related patents, many of the patents granted to Facebook in 2019 dealt with things like eye-tracking, online content delivery, and machine learning, the latter of which carries with it broad implications across all computing mediums and AR alike thanks to its use in computer vision tasks.

And while patents alone don’t tell the whole story, it’s apparent Facebook is mounting up to release an AR headset at some point in the near future. A number of the company’s hardware and software-related job listings last year made a prescient mention of Facebook-built AR headset.

With a growing number of Facebook-employed AR/VR professionals and a mounting catalog of IP, it’s clear Facebook isn’t just flirting with the idea of entering into the AR space, but rather it has a definite intention of owning a significant slice of the market.

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  • Rudl Za Vedno

    Here it goes again. AR shit is what Zuck’s wet dreams are made of. Be gone Evil!

    • NooYawker

      He will literally know what you are looking at, what you are saying and where you are going.

  • Ted Joseph

    Always thought Apple would be the first to sell an amazing AR device… Looks like Facebook is taking over!

  • Ad

    Yikes, Zuck (he owns the majority of voting shares in Facebook making him one of the most powerful CEOs in the world) is clearly using oculus as a stepping stone to AR, which he plans to completely monopolize and use to integrate basically our entire lives into the Facebook ecosystem.

    • sebrk

      Bye Rift and thanks for everything. Hello Index.

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    • ImperialDynamics

      how’s that a bad thing? Facebook is an amazing platform. And if we could experience it in AR/VR all the better.

      • Ad

        Facebook is a dangerous monopoly that is trying to aggressive corner the market and turn into something even worse. We’re talking about a company that multiple presidential candidates are saying should be broken up for its practices, market position, and messed up ambition (they want to start a currency, tried to gain total control of India’s internet, and regularly flout the law and manipulate media advertising).

        This became too big to ignore a long time ago and if their hardware excused that then every founder of Oculus wouldn’t have quit already.

  • sebrk

    So obvious that patents suck. Just imagine how much they slow progress and competition down. In a few years we are all owned by a few large companies.

    • Lucas Cunningham

      Patents help secure a return on investment for companies and individuals who dump a lot of resoureces into R & D, without them it is likely that research efforts would be scaled back drastically.

      I think they do need a reasonable expiration date to prevent monopolies however.

      • sebrk

        Well dont maken everything public. Being first to market is a return of itself. Instead we now see these big companies making patents for every little thing making invention almost impossible without licensing.

      • NooYawker

        But what companies are able to patent is a huge problem. Especially when they don’t even need any working prototype. They patent ideas.

        The patent system is completely broken.

        • Completely agree. This prevents innovation in little companies and also gives space to patent trolls

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  • A good news for FB. Anyway, looking at numbers, they are so little when compared with Samsung or Microsoft. That’s why Zuck says that they’re learning how to make hardware… they still have not the power of these companies that make hardware since many hears