IBM Breaks U.S. Patent Record

For the 22nd year in a row, IBM received the most patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and also broke the record for patents in a year.

IBM patents

Once again, IBM received more patents than any other company in the world over the past year, and again Big Blue broke a record for the number of patents received in a year.

IBM announced that it received a record 7,534 patents in 2014—marking the 22nd consecutive year that the company topped the annual list of U.S. patent recipients.

IBM inventors earned an average of more than 20 patents per day in 2014, propelling the company to become the first to surpass more than 7,000 patents in a single year.

The company’s record-setting 2014 patent output was led by more than 3,000 patents—40 percent of its annual total—covering a range of cloud computing, analytics, mobile, social and security inventions. Over the past five years, IBM has more than doubled its annual output of patents within these strategic growth areas.

IBM's record-breaking 2014 patent output features thousands of inventions that will enable key cloud computing, analytics, mobile, social and security advancements, such as: U.S. Patent #8,661,132 - Enabling service virtualization in a cloud; U.S. Patent #8,639,559 - Brand analysis using interactions with search result items; U.S. Patent #8,832,847 - Coordinating data sharing among applications in mobile devices; U.S. Patent #8,706,648 - Assessing social risk due to exposure from linked contacts; U.S. Patent #8,869,274 - Identifying whether an application is malicious; and U.S. Patent #8,639,497: Natural language processing (NLP).

IBM inventors also received more than 500 patents for inventions that will usher in the era of cognitive systems, including new Watson related cognitive technologies.

During IBM’s 22 years atop the patent list (1993-2014), the company’s inventors have received more than 81,500 U.S. patents.

"IBM's patented inventions represent innovations that enable new discoveries, promote progress, and deliver benefits to society," said Dr. John Kelly, senior vice president of solutions portfolio and research at IBM. "We take the responsibility of patent leadership seriously because it is an important barometer of our commitment to fundamental R&D and it enables IBMers to consistently pioneer new technologies that solve problems for our customers."

Rounding out the Top Ten list of 2014 U.S. patent recipients was Samsung at number two with 4,952 patents, Canon at three with 4,055 patents, Sony at four with 3,224 patents, Microsoft at five with 2,829 patents, Toshiba at six with 2,608 patents, Qualcomm at seven with 2,590 patents, Google at eight with 2,566 patents, LG Electronics at nine with 2,122 patents, and Panasonic at number 10 with 2,095 patents.

Last year was a banner year for the patent world, as annual U.S. patent grants increased by more than 8 percent, reaching an all-time high of 300,678 and surpassing the 300,000 mark for the first time.

"It was a very good year for U.S. patents in terms of growth," said Mike Baycroft, CEO of IFI CLAIMS Patent Services, which compiles a list of the top 50 patent recipients. "It was a particularly good year for U.S. firms which saw major gains from many of the top patent-generators, whereas overall foreign holdings of U.S. patents has held steady at roughly 49 percent."

Google had a good showing in 2014, entering the Top 10 for the first time at number eight—up 38.6 percent—trailing number seven Qualcomm by just 21 patents and only 263 patents shy of number five Microsoft. Apple came in at number 11, increasing its patent count by 12.8 percent, just ahead of number 12 General Electric and 92 patents short of number 10 Panasonic.

However, IBM's 2014 patent count exceeded the combined totals of Accenture, Amazon, Google, HP, Intel and Oracle.

More than 8,500 IBMers residing in 46 states and territories and 43 countries are responsible for IBM's record breaking 2014 patent tally. IBM inventors who reside outside the U.S. contributed to more than 34 percent of the company's 2014 patents.