Intellectual Property Bank Corp (IPB), a company engaged in consulting related to intellectual property in Japan, has announced its "Applicant Highest Score Rankings" based on the company's proprietary method to evaluate the quality of solar cell-related patents.

IPB evaluates patent quality by creating indices for actions concerning the patents made by applicants, examiners and rivals, it said. This time, the company released rankings of the patent that has won the highest score among the patents owned by each applicant. As a result, Sharp Corp, Hokkaido University and Canon Inc topped the rankings.

The rankings targeted companies, universities, research institutes and individuals that have filed patent applications with Japan's Patent Office. IPB's analyses are based on publically disclosed patent bulletins (about 6,400 patents) issued during the period from January 1993 to January 2008.

Following the three entities were Sanyo Electric Co Ltd, Shin-Etsu Chemical Co Ltd, Shin-Etsu Handotai Co Ltd, TAK Materials Corp, Hiroshi Kitamura, Kyocera Corp and Showa Denko KK. The companies and individuals ranked in these rankings slightly differed from those ranked in the "Applicant Score Rankings" that evaluated patents on both quality and quantity bases (See related article).