IBM Ranks No. 1 in U.S. Patents for 20 Years Straight

Paul Lilly

IBM, Samsung, and Sony were awarded more than 14,000 patents in the U.S. during 2012.

IBM on Thursday announced it received a record 6,478 patents in 2012 in the U.S., which is nearly 1,400 more than the next busiest inventor, Samsung. The achievement also extends IBM's volume patent streak to 20 years. For two decades, IBM has topped the annual list of U.S. patent recipients, extending its streak by way of more than 8,000 inventions in the past 12 months.

"We are proud of this new benchmark in technological and scientific creativity, which grows out of IBM’s century-long commitment to research and development," said Ginni Rometty, chairman and CEO, IBM. "Most concretely, our 2012 patent record and the two decades of leadership it extends are a testament to thousands of brilliant IBM inventors -- the living embodiments of our devotion to innovation that matters, for our clients, for our company and for the world."

Samsung came in second place with 5,081 patents, followed by Canon (3,147 patents), Sony (3,032 patents), and Panasonic (2,769 patents), according to data provided by IFI CLAIMS Patent Services .

Building a robust patent portofilio has become a bit of an arms race among companies, both for the purposes of licensing or suing other companies for royalties on borrowed technologies, and also to fend off lawsuits.

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