IBM leads again in 2017 with record 9,043 patents

IBM said its inventors received a record 9,043 patents in 2017, marking the company’s 25th consecutive year of US patent leadership and crossing the 100,000-patent milestone.

“The new patents were granted to a diverse group of more than 8,500 IBM researchers, engineers, scientists and designers in 47 different U.S. states and 47 countries,” said IBM.

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said: “For the past 25 years, IBM’s patent leadership has changed the way the world works with advancements critical to the modern era of computing.

“Today, nearly half of our patents are pioneering advancements in AI, cloud computing, cybersecurity, blockchain and quantum computing – and all are aimed at helping our clients create smarter businesses.”

IBM inventors received more than 1,900 cloud patents in 2017, including a patent for a system that uses unstructured data about world or local events to forecast cloud resource needs.

“IBM inventors also received 1,200 cybersecurity patents, including one for technology that enables AI systems to turn the table on hackers by baiting them into email exchanges and websites that expend their resources and frustrate their attacks,” said IBM.

“It could substantially reduce the security risks associated with ‘phishing’ emails and other attacks.

“IBM inventors also patented significant inventions in emerging areas like quantum computing, including a new way for improving a quantum computer’s ability to acquire and retain information – otherwise known as signal readout fidelity.

“This can lead to efficiency in the components necessary to build a quantum computing system.”

Other patented innovations from IBM inventors in 2017 included:

  • A machine learning system designed to shift control between an autonomous vehicle and a human driver as needed, such as in an emergency.
  • A method that leverages blockchain technology to reduce the number of steps involved in settling transactions between multiple business parties, even those that are not trusted and might otherwise require a third-party clearinghouse to execute.
  • A technique that automatically elevates the security protection of a mobile device when it determines that device is located far from its owner and is likely under someone else’s control.

This year’s milestone builds on more than 105,000 US patents granted to IBM from 1993 to 2017.

IBM inventors have received patents for ideas including secure credit card transactions, the world’s fastest supercomputers, and earthquake detectors.