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IBM marks 20 years as top patent recipient

10 Jan 2013
An IBM PureData system storage stack - closeup view

IBM was granted more US patents than any other company in 2012, the 20th consecutive year it has been the leading patent recipient.

IBM was awarded 6,478 patents last year. Over the past 10 years the company has been awarded almost 67,000 patents in total.

"We are proud of this new benchmark in technological and scientific creativity, which grows out of IBM's century-long commitment to research and development," said IBM chairman and chief executive Ginni Rometty.

"Most concretely, our 2012 patent record and the two decades of leadership it extends are a testament to thousands of brilliant IBM inventors - the living embodiments of our devotion to innovation that matters, for our clients, for our company and for the world."

IBM's total patents for the year outnumbered the combined number awarded to Accenture, Amazon, Apple, EMC, HP, Intel, Oracle and Symantec. IBM to beat its own record for most patents awarded to a company in a year.

The recent smartphone patent wars have put a renewed focus on patent accumulation. Many US technology firms are now following IBM's lead when it comes to building an extensive patent portfolio.

According to Mike Baycroft, chief executive of patent research group Information for Industry (IFI), IBM's competitors are learning from the old technology goliath.

"US companies are holding their own against a growing number of Asian and European firms that, in recent years, have put a very high priority on patent accumulation," Baycroft said.

"IBM has made this strategy a priority for more than two decades and now many of the other US firms are following suit as a means to outpace current and future competition."

Along with IBM, both Microsoft and Samsung made it into the top 10 most patented inventors of 2012. Microsoft made it to number six in the rankings last year. While Samsung ended up as the second largest patentee.

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James Dohnert

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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