IBM tops US patent list for 26th year running

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Big Blue received a record 9,100 patents last year, nearly half of which were related to innovations in AI, cloud, security, blockchain and quantum computing

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10 January 2019 | 0

IBM was granted the most patents in the US in 2018, the company’s twenty-sixth consecutive year at the top of the ranking.

Big Blue received a record 9,100 patents last year, nearly half of which were related to innovations in AI (1600 patents), cloud computing (2000 patents), security (1400 patents), blockchain and quantum computing.

Among the patents was a medical one for an ‘image reconstruction’ technique to predict of age related macular degeneration, which is responsible for half of all cases of blindness.

The innovation – developed by Rahil Garnavi, Dwarikanath Mahapatra and Suman Sedai – generates 3D structural information from a 2D view of a retinal fundus image, sidestepping the need for expensive Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) equipment.

“IBM is committed to leading the way on the technologies that change the way the world works – and solving problems many people have not even thought of yet,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and CEO.

“Our clients and their customers are the beneficiaries of these innovations, particularly our leadership in AI, cloud, blockchain and security for business,” she added.

Ford makes top 10
The top ten ranking of patents granted – compiled by IFI Patent Claims Services from US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) data – was dominated by technology companies. Samsung ranked second in the list of US patents granted (with 5850), followed by Canon (3056), Intel (2735), LG (2474), Taiwan Semiconductor (2465), Microsoft (2353), Qualcomm (2300) and Apple (2160).

However, car manufacturer Ford took tenth place with 2123 patents granted, many relating to self-driving vehicle technologies.

Places 11 to 20 were taken by Google, Amazon, Toyota, Samsung Displays, Sony, Huawei, IoT technology company BOE, General Electric, Hyundai and Ericsson.

Overall, the number of patents granted by the USPTO fell 3.5% from 2017. US companies received 46% of these patents. Asian companies received 31% and European companies received 15%.

China was the only nation to be awarded more patents than the previous year: receiving 12,589 US patents in 2018, a 12% increase on the previous year. However, Chinese companies represent only 4% of the total patents granted.

 

 

IDG News Service

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