Canon is the most innovative camera company – for 35 years straight

Canon patent document
(Image credit: Canon)

The US patent office granted Canon an incredible 3,226 patents in 2020, putting Canon in third place for having the most patents being granted over the year. However, even more impressively, Canon has consistently remained in the top five for most patents granted for a staggering 35 years. This essentially makes Canon one of the most innovative companies in the world

Canon is particularly prolific when it comes to developing new patents. This level of continued innovation is unparalleled by most, with Canon ranking first among Japanese companies for 15 consecutive years. 

Read more: Best Canon camera

Seymour Liebman, the Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel of Canon USA says, “As the world continues to shift and the needs of our customers evolve, we too will continue exploring new areas and future opportunities for innovation that will benefit our customers.

“Canon is proud to be in the top three patent holders as it further demonstrates our commitment to delivering innovative ideas and solutions that meet market and customer demands.”

A recent, and somewhat controversial, patent from Canon is for a touchpad shutter button. Shutter buttons have remained mechanical because the tactile nature offers is often thought to be more ergonomic for photographers. However, having a touchpad shutter button could afford some potential benefits. 

For instance, the lack of moving parts in a touchpad can potentially improve the longevity of a device. Also, a touch pad could potentially be used for a number of operations instead of just firing the shutter mechanism. In fact, photographers could pre-set gestures into the camera to manage a number of different features. 

It's important to mention that just because Canon files a patent, it doesn't necessarily mean that Canon will actually make use of the device or feature detailed. Companies have often been known to file new patents as a way to develop value for the organization. 

Nonetheless, the degree at which Canon continues to develop new patents is not only impressive, but demonstrates Canon's commitment to remaining a highly innovative company. It's probably safe to say that Canon will remain in the top five once again in 2021.

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Usman Dawood

Usman is a commercial and architectural photographer based in West Yorkshire, who has been working professionally for over seven years. He has also spent over four years as a writer for the biggest photography sites in the world, including Staff Writer for Digital Camera World, senior staff writer for FStoppers, and tech writer for Petapixel. 

With a particular interest in technology developments, high-resolution imaging and the high-end cameras, Usman has been on the cutting edge of camera news as well as writing features about medium format systems and global shutters, and has reviewed some of the latest Leica cameras as well as a tripod that’s even taller than Andre the Giant!