The presence of a Korean company as number 2 followed by Japanese companies in 4th and 5th slots has been the focus of attention in the USA. According to the press release 51% of all applications were made from overseas: 23% from Japan, 5.6% from South Korea and Germany 5.2%. Sadly there were no British applicants in the top 50 and the top European applicant was Siemens of Germany with 716 applications.
The press release notes some American successes: GM up by 68% since last year and Cisco, Boeing and Xerox by 30%, 26% and 18% respectively.
See also Steve LeVine's article in Business Week: "IBM may not be the Patent King after all".
For a table of patent grants for the UK for 2007 and 2008 see the IPO's Facts and Figures for 2008.
See also my article "Korea: an IP Giant" which I published on 10 Jan.