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IBM takes the lead in patents once again

IBM was awarded more patents in 2013 than any company, the 21st straight year it achieved that distinction

International Business Machines Corp., better known as IBM, certainly takes its nickname, “Big Blue” seriously, at least when it comes to patents.

In 2013, IBM racked up a record 6,809 patents, more than any other U.S. company. In fact, it led the way in patents for the 21st straight year. The grand total represents the work of inventors in 41 countries, and almost one third of the patents came from overseas work. Its patent portfolio this year helped the tech giant lead the way in areas such as big data and cloud computing.

Last year, Big Blue amassed 6,478 patents, which was a record at the time. In the past 21 years, the company has racked up a total of more than 67,000 patents. Because of its large portfolio, IBM has patents that it does not actively use, yet it protects and defends, which some might view as “troll-like” behavior.

IBM is not the only tech company that amassed a large number of patents in 2013. South Korea-based Samsung Electronics was second on the list and Japanese tech company Canon was third. Samsung has been second on the U.S. patent list since 2007, and scored nearly 4,700 patents last year, though that number was down from 2012.

The only other U.S. companies in the top 10 list last year were Microsoft and Qualcomm. Google ranked at number 11 and Apple came in at 13.


For more patent-related news, check out the following:

Patent trolls invade the cloud

IP: Hidden traps: Introduction to subject matter conflicts in patent prosecution

South Carolina’s attorney general latest to join war on patent trolls

Lawmakers continue to fight patent trolls with more realistic version of the Innovation Act

Senior Editor and Community Manager

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Rich Steeves

Richard P. Steeves is Senior Editor and Community Manager of InsideCounsel magazine, where he covers the intellectual property and compliance beats. Rich earned a B.A....

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