Canon's founding mission was to build a company that created high-quality cameras. Canon realized this dream in 1936 when it released the Hansa Canon, Japan's first 35mm focal-plane shutter camera. Since that time, our technological strengths have helped us to also become a leading digital imaging and networking company and a dominant force in personal and office printers, copiers, controllers and fax machines. We also have applied our innovative skills in environmental technologies, as well as medical, semiconductor, and broadcasting equipment. We will continue to develop innovative technologies as a means of bettering the world we live in - redefining the workplace and enhancing lifestyles.
Innovation has been a key ingredient in Canon's success throughout our history. We are one of the most prolific inventors of consumer and professional imaging solutions. Canon Inc. ranked #3 worldwide among all companies issued U.S. patents in 2014. For the last 29 years, Canon Inc. has maintained a top five ranking, with a total of 4,055 U.S. patents granted in 2014 alone. Canon Inc. has continue to invest a significant portion of net sales to R&D investment each year. Our Canon R&D divisions in Japan and throughout the world are dedicated to developing custom products and solutions for customers worldwide.
Some products developed from Canon R&D and patented technology include the laser beam print engine, Bubble Jet Printing systems, plain-paper copying devices, eye-control focus systems for cameras and camcorders, and optical image stabilization for video cameras, broadcast lenses, and binoculars. Whatever the product, our emphasis on quality as well as original technologies has earned us the trust of customers around the world.