In a January 12, 2010 press release IBM reported that it was awarded more U.S. patents than any other company in the world for a 17th straight year, breaking its own record by receiving 4,914 patents in 2009.
The number of patents awarded to IBM was nearly four times that received by Hewlett-Packard and was more than the combined total patent allowances of Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, Apple, Accenture and Google.
Data provided by IFI Patent Intelligence indicated that South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co came in second with 3,611 and Microsoft Corp., was awarded 2,906 patents to place third in the patent race.
The figures clearly show IBM’s commitment to being the world’s leader when it comes to filing new patent applications. The reason why is simple, they make a lot of money by protecting their innovation and exploiting their patent portfolio through licensing deals.
Steve Levine of Bloomberg.com reported that Christopher Andrews, a spokesman for the IBM said “We invest $6 billion annually in R&D and we continue to pursue patents for inventions that will advance IBM’s business strategies…”
2009 U.S. Patent Leaders*
- IBM 4,914
- Samsung 3,611
- Microsoft 2,906
- Canon 2,206
- Panasonic 1,829
- Toshiba 1,696
- Sony 1,680
- Intel 1,537
- Seiko Epson 1,330
- HP 1,273
In addition to filing patents to stop others from using their technology, IBM published almost 4,000 defensive publications so that others are precluded from filing patent applications on certain technology and in turn stopping IBM from using that technology. As a result this technology is open and free for anyone to use because it is in the public domain. Tom Colson the CEO of IP.com stated in a recent blog post,
“By definition, defensive publishing is the practice of placing innovation into the public domain. Although the tactic is not new, when used hand in hand with patents and trade secrets, it lets companies efficiently build and maintain competitive IP portfolios.”
IBM reports, “IBM released these inventions through publication as part of its commitment to improving patent quality.
Consequently, the inventions are freely available in a public database of prior art and can be cited by patent offices in limiting the scope of patent applications.
The company’s publication effort may also spur follow-on innovation, which enables dynamic business growth.”
The more patents they own the more money they make. IBM has always been a leader in innovation and continues that trend.