IBM again top US patent holder, vows to go after lesser claims

Posted by Rick C. Hodgin

Richmond (VA) - In 2008, the top ten companies who were issued patents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) was released today when IBM announced they have shattered not only their previous record, but also the previous U.S. patent holder record for one year.





IBM took the #1 slot and was issued 4186 patents. Samsung was #2 at 3515. In order, #3 Canon had 2114, #4 Microsoft had 2030, #5 Intel had 1776, #6 Matsushita (now part of Panasonic Corp) had 1745, #7 Toshiba had 1609, #8 Fujitsu had 1494, #9 Sony had 1485 and #10 HP had 1424.



IBM leads the list for the 16th consecutive year. IBM plans to make approximately 3,000 of its patents freely available. IBM will also joint a project designed to target "low-quality patents." IBM is looking at those with "uncertain scope or dubious claims to technological innovation."



IBM says the number of dubious patent claims has increased significantly in recent years. The goal of IBM's effort is "to improve the patent system by establishing empirical, objective metrics directly correlated to factors such as clarity of claims and quality of prior art cited during patent examination." IBM believes this will help inventors file better applications and examiners make better decisions more quickly.



Dr. Rick Lawrence, manager of Predictive Modeling for IBM Research said, "Improving patent quality must become an essential priority and we believe the application of advanced data analytics can help create an empirical measure for what has previously been a subjective evaluation. By working with the academic and legal communities on this and other patent quality initiatives, we can increase the intelligence of the patent system and encourage the patenting of truly important innovations."



Current rumors persist that IBM may be facing a substantial lay off of more than 16,000 employees in 2009. This layoff may also affect capital spending as the global economic downturn is taking its toll on even the biggest players. IBM had quarterly revenues in Q3'2008 which were up 5% at $25.3 billion, up 22% on the year.



See IBM's press release.