IBM Becomes First Tech Company To Get 8,000 Patents In One Year


More than a third of the patents related to AI, cognitive computing and cloud computing alone

IBM received the most patents for the 24th year in a row and broke the US record in 2016.

With 8,088 patents granted to its inventors over the 12 months covering areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive computing, cloud, health and cyber security, IBM became the first company to pass the 8,000 milestone in a single year.

That’s equal to more than 22 patents a day generated by its researchers, engineers and designers, with more than a third of the patents relating to AI, cognitive computing and cloud computing alone.



Patents galore

“Leading the world in innovation for 24 years in a row is a result of IBM’s unmatched commitment to innovation and R&D–reflected in this year’s new U.S. patent record, breaking the 8,000 barrier for the first time,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM’s chairman, president and CEO. “We are deeply proud of our inventors’ unique contributions to discovery, science and technology that are driving progress across business and society and opening the new era of cognitive business.”

More than 8,500 IBM inventors are responsible for the company’s record-breaking tally, residing in 47 states and territories and 47 countries. New York was the most prolific area with over 2,700 patents granted, followed by California and Texas with over 1,000 patents each.

The other nine companies in the top ten list of 2016 US patent recipients consist of: Samsung electronics (with 5,518 patents), Canon (3,665), Qualcomm (2,897), Google (2,835), Intel (2,784), LG Electronics (2,428), Microsoft (2,398), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (2,288) and Sony (2,181).

So, everything was rosy for IBM with regards to patents in 2016, but the same can’t said for vendors in the smartphone arena. First we had Huawei suing Samsung over alleged smartphone patent infringements, followed by Nokia taking legal action against Apple for violating 32 of its patents.

The long-running dispute between Samsung and Apple also continued to bubble away, with the Korean manufacturer winning the latest round to overturn a $399 million (£313m) patent infringement fine in December.

Quiz: The smartphones of 2016