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IBM Earns Most U.S. Patents for 17th Consecutive Year; Will Offer Licenses to Patent Portfolio Management Know-How


ARMONK, N.Y. - 12 Jan 2010: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it received 4,914 U.S. patents in 2009, marking the 17th consecutive year it has topped the list of the world's most inventive companies. IBM also announced that, for the first time, it will offer its invention know-how and patent portfolio management software to clients seeking to enhance their intellectual property (IP) management capabilities in support of innovation-based growth strategies.

IBM's know-how and patent management software can help innovative companies effectively evaluate their patent portfolios, identify new patent opportunities, and more closely align their business and IP strategies.  

Listen to a podcast:  Building a Smarter Planet - Patents.  2009 marked the 17th consecutive year IBM has received more U.S. patents than any other company in the world. In this episode, we get a glimpse into the world of IBM patent innovation.

IBM's 2009 patent total nearly quadrupled Hewlett-Packard's and exceeded the combined issuances of Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, Apple, Accenture and Google.

2009 U.S. Patent Leaders*    
1. IBM 4,914
2. Samsung 3,611
3. Microsoft 2,906
4. Canon 2,206
5. Panasonic 1,829
6. Toshiba 1,696
7. Sony 1,680
8. Intel 1,537
9. Seiko Epson 1,330
10. HP 1,273

* Data provided by IFI Patent Intelligence 

In addition, IBM published almost 4,000 technical inventions in 2009, instead of seeking patent protection, thereby making the inventions freely available to others. IBM released these inventions through publication as part of its commitment to improving patent quality. Consequently, the inventions are freely available in a public database of prior art and can be cited by patent offices in limiting the scope of patent applications. The company's publication effort may also spur follow-on innovation, which enables dynamic business growth.  

As part of IBM's plan to help companies build and support a culture of invention and innovation, the company will provide access to its advanced invention and patent portfolio management software and know-how through engagements with clients. This, in turn, can help stimulate growth by supporting development of higher-value patent portfolios. 

IBM's patent and IP experts have developed and used the patent management software for over a decade to help analyze, assess and effectively administer its portfolio of more than 30,000 U.S. patents. The patent management software, coupled with the company's experience, has enabled IBM to balance its patent and intellectual property strategy with its business needs and generate new ways to derive more value from patents. 

"We are making our IP know-how and patent management software available because clients have increasingly approached IBM for insight into how to effectively establish and manage their own patent and IP portfolios," said Kevin Reardon, general manager of Intellectual Property and vice president of Research Business Development for IBM. "This approach is consistent with our commitment to working with others to encourage an environment of collaboration and cooperation in the patent and intellectual property arena." 

Under the patent and IP management offering, IBM will provide clients with know-how to help them plan, create and leverage their established or emerging IP portfolios; the guidance will not include legal advice. The know-how IBM will offer can help clients assess an IP infrastructure, identify high potential invention opportunity areas, and build an intellectual property portfolio. IBM also will teach clients about developing and implementing a strategic planning framework, harvesting intellectual property, and establishing culture of innovation. To help clients learn how to leverage their IP, IBM will offer insight on licensing, establishing best-of-breed patent management practices, and ways to help expand market opportunities. 

Access to a Lotus Notes-based version of IBM's patent portfolio management software is currently available to clients in know-how engagements, and a Web-based version of the tool is in development for the second-half of 2010. IBM will provide access to expert consultants from its Intellectual Property and Licensing team to help devise a plan that can meet the individual needs of clients interested in using the software. 

IBM's patent management know-how offering is immediately available. Pricing will be determined on a case-by-case basis. 

For more information, please visit: http://www.ibm.com/research 

Contact(s) information

Chris Andrews
IBM Media Relations
914-945-1195
candrews@us.ibm.com

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IBM inventor, John Gunnels, holds U.S. Patent #7,506,196, one of 4,914 patents IBM received from the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 2009 -- the 17th consecutive year IBM topped the annual list of patent holders. Gunnels received patent #7,506,196 for an invention that enables IBM's Blue Gene supercomputer to run with the assurance that its internal communications network is functioning properly.

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