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Icons of Progress

Patents and Innovation

The tens of thousands of inventions that have come out of IBM throughout its 100-year history—from FORTRAN to relational databases to the Universal Product Code—have truly transformed the world in which we live. From Herman Hollerith’s tabulating machine, to Aquasar, the hot water-cooled supercomputer announced in 2010, IBM has continuously discovered innovative ways to approach technology and services.

Today, IBM is striving to achieve a balance between protecting intellectual property and fostering collaborative forms of value creation. One way the company is achieving this balance is through participation in the Eco-Patent Commons. IBM has contributed more than 500 patents to the Eco-Patent Commons, a portfolio of patents that focus on environmental matters and innovations in manufacturing or business processes where the solution provides an environmental benefit.

IBM has also worked in collaboration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and other companies to establish the Peer-to-Patent project. This online system aims to improve the quality of issued patents by enabling the public to review qualified patent applications through an open process. Anyone can supply information relevant to assessing the claims of pending patent applications.

As the U.S. patent leader for 18 years, and an innovator for more than 100, IBM has established itself as a source of innovative solutions that can transform the way we live and work.