Last year, as many MMi readers realize, we covered no shortage of curious if not confounding patent registrations by Apple. 2014, like many years previously, saw a diverse array of patented tech designs emerging from the ultra-secretive confines of Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Most patents, of course, represent nothing more than Apple securing a design for something that they may, in fact, never implement in their product lines. In several instances, however, Apple is indeed getting its ducks in a row for a future product or product update.

One thing is now for certain as we look back on the year that was -- Apple secured a record number of patents for the company. IFI CLAIMS Patent Services reported Monday that Apple claimed 13% more patents in 2014 than 2013. Overall, Apple secured 2,003 patents in the last 12 months, ranking number 11 among all companies awarded patents for their innovative intellectual properties.

"A total of 19 U.S.-based companies appear on the 2014 IFI CLAIMS Top 50, up from 18 in 2013 and 17 in 2011 and 2012. Google enters the Top 10 for the first time at position #8—up a remarkable 38.6 percent—trailing #7 Qualcomm by just 21 patents and only 263 patents shy of #5 Microsoft," the report reads, noting that Apple, at #11, "makes impressive gains as it continues its push toward the Top 10 increasing its patent counts by 12.8 percent, just ahead of #12 General Electric and 92 patents short of #10 Panasonic."

Source: IFI CLAIMS Patent Services