IBM Leads In U.S. Patents for Seventh Consecutive Year

Top Patent Performer of the 1990s Again Sets Record

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ARMONK, N.Y - 11 Jan 2000: -For the seventh consecutive year, IBM was awarded the most U.S. patents in 1999. With a record 2,756 patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, IBM topped the next closest company by more than 900 patents.

The company was awarded a total of more than 15,000 patents during the 1990s, tripling its output of the previous decade and 2,300 more than the number two producer of patents, Canon.

The results were reported today by IFI CLAIMS Patent Services, which compiles the CLAIMS(c) patent database and annually reports the number of patents issued to companies.

Technology Investments Driving Key Growth Areas

"While the sheer number of patents is impressive, what's even more important is that these technologies are firmly positioned to drive IBM's key strategic growth areas in the coming years -- OEM technologies, software and services," said Nicholas Donofrio, IBM's senior vice president and group executive of corporate technology and manufacturing. "We're making the right investments in the right technologies, and it's paying off with growing marketshare in the fastest-growing parts of the industry."

Donofrio cited the role of IBM's patent portfolio in more than $30 billion worth of OEM agreements signed by IBM's Technology Group in 1999. In addition, patent and intellectual property licensing efforts generate more than a billion dollars in revenue annually.

"Our commitment to research and develop the industry's most innovative technologies -- and our ability to get these technologies to market quickly -- is unparalleled," Donofrio said. "That explains why leading companies, ranging from Dell to Cisco to Nintendo, are lining up at the door to use IBM technology in their products and to get access to our intellectual property portfolio."

In addition to hardware and components, IBM's 1999 patent portfolio includes more than 900 software-related patents that are fundamental to the company's e-business strategy. By comparison, IFI CLAIMS records show that Microsoft Corporation was awarded 353 patents in 1999, ranking it 38th among companies, and Oracle was not issued enough patents to qualify for the top 50.

IBM Patents -- Selected Highlights

IBM maintains the broadest ranges of patented technologies in the information technology industry, covering all aspects of e-business, including networking, computer systems, large servers, semiconductors, microprocessors, memory chips, storage and software applications.

Among the U.S. patents issued in 1999 for IBM inventions are:

US5926798: Method and apparatus for performing computer-based on-line commerce using an intelligent agent
Intelligent software agents perform e-commerce negotiations and transactions by committing services from multiple service providers and customers. This technology
will play a major role in the future e-business. The intelligent agents consider both the availability of the requested service, such as arranging for a vacation, and the business policies of the service provider, for example the cancellation policy. The least severe cancellation policy is committed first while the most severe cancellation policy is committed last giving the user the greatest possible protection in making arrangements.

US5870717: System for ordering items over computer network using an electronic catalog
This patent is a good example of IBM's leading technology for e-business. The e-business solution allows employees in a company to directly process orders for goods from another company by using catalogs and electronic purchasing methods. Users can by-pass both the normal paper approvals and the manual
verification of the order by the organization's purchasing department. It achieves this by means of an electronic catalog accessible from the employee's own personal computer, and a computer network and associated services linking the company to multiple suppliers.

US5930643: Defect induced buried oxide (DIBOX) for throughput Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI)
Silicon-on-insulator (SOI) is IBM's breakthrough technology that can be implemented to allow chips to use less power and perform better. SOI is significant, for example, because it can allow battery-operated communications devices to operate longer before recharging. This patent defines fundamental improvements to the SOI chip manufacturing process that enable faster and less expensive manufacturing of SOI chips.

US5900675: Organic controlled collapse chip connector (C4) ball grid array (BGA) chip carrier with dual thermal expansion rates
With the proliferation of computing capability in products of all kinds, packaging assemblies for chips have to be able to withstand a wide range of temperatures. Cell phones, for example, may be subjected to extremes of cold in winter and heat in summer. The simple act of "powering up" any computing product creates heat-related stress between various chip packaging levels due to different thermal expansion rates of the materials used in each level of packaging. This patent provides a means of significantly reducing these stresses, improving product reliability.

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IBM's Intellectual Property Network Site at offers free access on information for all U.S. patents granted since 1971. Full images of 2.1 million U.S. patents issued since 1974 are available, as well. In October 1998, the site added European Patents and published International Patent applications.

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