Ford Motor Co. outperformed all other auto makers in the “quality and significance” of its technology patents, a recent study shows.

The Patent Board, which analyzes worldwide patents, says in its “Top 10 Innovators in Automotive & Transportation Patent Scorecard” Ford ranks above all other car manufacturers in the “Research Intensity” and “Industry Impact” categories.

The study, which focused on patents issued in fourth-quarter 2008, measures the significance and impact of a company’s patent portfolio across the industry.

“Ford’s overall patent portfolio plays a significant role in serving as a foundation for other technology innovation as shown by receiving 20% more citations than the average portfolio in this industry,” says Christine Wren, director of business development for The Patent Board. “Ford’s patented technologies are closer to the cutting edge than its competitors.”

Some of those technologies are found on the ’10 Ford Fusion and Fusion Hybrid, which, combined, have 119 patents, a record for Ford.

Patents on the Fusion Hybrid pertain to technologies such as Ford’s next-generation hybrid-electric powertrain and SmartGauge with EcoGuide, an innovative new display that provides real-time information about the powertrain to help drivers maximize fuel efficiency.

Patenting at Ford takes place on a global scale, with experts in the U.S., Europe, India and China sharing common processes and reporting to Ford Global Technologies LLC, a wholly owned Ford subsidiary responsible for managing intellectual property worldwide.