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IBM Leads in U.S. Patents for Fifth Consecutive Year Capping 1997's Technology Breakthroughs

ARMONK, N.Y - 12 Jan 1998: . . . For the fifth consecutive year, IBM has been granted the most U.S. patents. IBM received 1,724 U.S. patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office -- over 300 more than any other company, according to IFI/Plenum Data Corporation, which produces the CLAIMS(TM) patent database.

The announcement caps a year in which IBM recorded a number of major technology achievements. In 1997, IBM introduced a breakthrough in semiconductor technology with the development of smaller, faster, more powerful and less costly integrated circuits using copper "wiring" in place of aluminum -- a groundbreaking technological advance that had eluded chip manufacturers for decades.

IBM set a record for disk drive storage capacity, breaking the barrier of 10 billion bits of data per square inch; and introduced the world's highest capacity new hard disk drives for both notebook and desktop personal computers. Also in 1997, IBM's Deep Blue supercomputer defeated Garry Kasparov in a chess match that captured worldwide attention.

The company also continued to introduce advances in speech recognition, including new Via Voice products for the Chinese
and Japanese markets.

IBM has more than 50 issued and pending patents relating to the use of copper interconnect technology. The company's 1997 U.S. patent portfolio includes more than 550 software-related patents and over 250 related to network computing, reflecting IBM's research and development emphasis in this area. Many of these patents in IBM's portfolio also serve multiple business applications, such as advancing its strategic focus on global e-business.

IBM maintains one of the broadest ranges of patented technologies in the information technology industry -- covering all aspects of networking, computer systems, architecture and large servers; semiconductors; disk drive technology; and software applications. The number of U.S. patents awarded to IBM in the four previous years were:

1996: 1,867
1995: 1,383
1994: 1,298
1993: 1,085

Trailing IBM in the top ten for 1997 were Canon with 1,378; NEC with 1,095; Motorola with 1,058; Fujitsu with 903; Hitachi with 902; Mitsubishi with 893; Toshiba with 862; Sony with 860 and Eastman Kodak with 795. "IBM's leadership in patent innovation is a direct response to the challenge of the marketplace -- to develop new technologies for e-business and user-oriented products for a networked world," said Marshall Phelps, Jr., vice president of intellectual property and licensing for IBM. "IBM inventors' creativity in e-business is represented by this accomplishment." Among the U.S. patents issued to IBM inventions in 1997 are:

Following are representative examples of e-business patents:

IBM scientists have won the Nobel Prize for physics three times, the National Medal of Technology six times, and the
National Medal of Science three times.

IBM's Patent Server Site ( allows anyone with web access to search and retrieve information free of charge on all U.S. patents granted since 1971. Full images of nearly one million U.S. patents issued since 1987 can also be viewed free of charge.

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Patents assigned to two or more organizations are counted only for the first-appearing assignee in above totals.

IBM news releases are available on the Internet, via the IBM Home Page at
CLAIMS is a service mark of IFI/Plenum Data Corp. Reg. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Contact(s) information

Laura Wessner

Harry Allcock
IFI/Plenum Data

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