IBM Wins Most U.S. Patents in 2008

IBM became the first company to win more than 4,000 patents in one year, according to a new report. Among IBM's patents were systems to help the blind as well as new ways to build nanotechnology into microprocessors. Microsoft, Intel, Samsung and Hewlett-Packard were also included as some of the top patent recipients.

(Reuters) - International Business Machines said on Wednesday it became the first company ever to win more than 4,000 U.S. patents in a single year, citing a new report from research firm IFI Patent Intelligence.

IBM said it earned 4,186 U.S. patents in 2008, more than triple the number of patents earned by rival Hewlett-Packard.

Microsoft earned 2,030 patents, while Intel had 1,776 and Hewlett-Packard 1,424, according to the report, which compiled data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics had the second-highest number of patents at 3,515.

A wireless system that detects a child's presence in a baby car seat and a method for blind people to find their way around using radio frequency identification are among the patents IBM Scientists won in 2008, IBM said.

The company also earned a patent for developing a cheaper way to build nanotechnology used to make chips.

The Armonk, New York-based company said it plans to increase by 50 percent -- to more than 3,000 -- the number of technical inventions it publishes annually instead of seeking patent protection in an attempt to spur open and wide-scale innovation.

IBM also said it would contribute the capabilities of IBM Research to a collaborative project that is developing an empirical measure of patent quality.

(Reporting by Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore and Anupreeta Das in San Francisco; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

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