IBM Leads in U.S. Patents for Thirteenth Consecutive Year

Introduces Initiatives for Improved Patent Quality

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Armonk, NY - 10 Jan 2006: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today released its annual list of the top patentees. With 2,941, IBM earned more U.S. patents than any other company for the thirteenth consecutive year.

IBM also announced an initiative it is undertaking with the USPTO, Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), members of the open source software community and academia that is focused on improving U.S. patent quality. The unprecedented partnership between these parties to improve patent quality will help accelerate innovation in the United States.

The initiative has three elements:

"These important efforts among open source developers, vendors, end users and government to improve patent quality will reduce potential legal threats to open source developers and businesses," said Diane Peters, general counsel, OSDL. "OSDL is eager to extend its work on open source legal initiatives to collaborate with IBM, the U.S. Patent Office and the open source community. This work will further the adoption of, and confidence in, Linux and open source technologies."

"IBM believes that patents should be granted only for ideas that embody genuine scientific progress and technological innovation," said Dr. John E. Kelly III, IBM senior vice president of Technology and Intellectual Property. "Raising the quality of patents will encourage continued investment in research and development by individual inventors, small businesses, corporations and academic institutions while helping to prevent over-protection that works against innovation and the public interest."

High-quality patents increase certainty around intellectual property rights, reducing contention and freeing resources to focus on innovation.

The three initiatives are open to all who are interested, and broad participation is encouraged. The USPTO has planned a public meeting to further the projects at its offices in Alexandria, Virginia on February 16, 2006.

In 2005, IBM received 1,100 more patents than any other company. This is the eighth consecutive year IBM has received more than 2,000 U.S. patents.

The 2005 patent results were reported today by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. An agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the USPTO issues patents, administers the patent and trademark laws of the U.S. and advises the Administration on intellectual property policy.

Results and ranking also were reported today by IFI CLAIMS Patent Services, which compiles the CLAIMS© patent database and annually reports the number of U.S. patents issued to companies. According to IFI CLAIMS, IBM inventors were listed on 31 additional patents awarded to other primary assignees for a total of 2,972 patents.

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