No other company is more active in securing patents in the United States than IBM. The company has led the charge each and every year for nearly the past two and a half decades and this year set the record for most patents in a single year with a total of 8,088 patents granted to its investors. Among them were over 2,700 cognitive and cloud computing patents, though the totality of it all covered a wide range of technologies, including artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and areas IBM identified as being strategic ones for future growth.
IBM's record setting year breaks down to more than 22 patents being granted per day in 2016. No other company was in contention to beat IBM for the most patents this year, as its nearest competitor, Samsung, earned a second place finish with 5,518 patents. After that the top 10 list is comprised of 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).
"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."
It is not really surprising that IBM was able to add so many patents to its growing portfolio. IBM has claimed the most patents each year for 24 straight years, and 2016 was a particularly busy one with advances being made to machine learning and AI. Combined with the exploding Internet of Things (IoT) market, it was a safe bet that IBM would not only lead the way once again, but break a record for most patents in a single year.
The cloud also proved to an active field for patents. IBM inventors patented more than 1,600 inventions related to cloud computing, including one that pro-actively identifies hotspots in a cloud computing environment to help IT admins figure out where a resource constraint is likely to occur and cause performance problems.