An interesting piece in May 2008's The Hard Copy Observer caught my eye and is worthy of a quick summary here. (The Hard Copy Observer is a publication of Lyra Research, and their May article is an annual effort that "examines yearly ink jet patent publishing in partnership with Pivotal Resources, the Cambridge, U.K.-based publisher of Directions, a patent-review periodical that monitors the number of ink jet patents published in both Europe and the United States.")
In the rankings of 2007 patent, Silverbrook Research took the #1 spot, with an even 400 patents, followed by Seiko Epson, Canon, Brother, and HP comprising the remainder of the top five. The article includes an analysis of 20+ companies and their inkjet patent activity in 2007. Lots here for the analyst community here and in the source material from Pivotal Resources, as patent activity is a key leading indicator of product introductions to come.
Lyra's Steve Hoffenberg is quoted several times, with this comment regarding Silverbrook and Memjet, who dominated much of the printer news a year ago but have been relatively quiet this year:
"There is a general temptation to think that if [people] don’t hear anything, there is nothing going on. But it may be that everyone is being very hush-hush about partnerships and product development. If anyone is an expert in being hush-hush, it’s these guys [Silverbrook Research]."
Hoffenberg's other comments in the piece, including news of Silverbrook hiring marketing staff and opening a wide-format division of Memjet, compliment my "observations" of three weeks ago (see "Now Hiring...").
Full disclosure department -- my monthly column, Observations, is published in print form in The Hard Copy Observer.