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20 years of IBM patents and innovation

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IBM patents

IBM has been focused on continuous innovation for more than a century. Patenting is an important barometer of that innovation, and IBM has topped the annual list of U.S. patent recipients for the 20th consecutive year. From 1993-2012, IBM inventors received nearly 67,000 U.S. patents, and in 2012 alone, received a record 6,478 patents, exceeding the combined totals of Accenture, Amazon, Apple, EMC, HP, Intel, Oracle/SUN and Symantec.

Most important, these inventions have a huge impact on clients, partners and society. They show IBM’s long-term, strategic commitment to innovation and demonstrate the patience to allow scientific discovery to find its way into the market.

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The applications

IBM has had a long history of creating innovations that have an impact on clients, partners and society. This has ranged from core computing technologies such as DRAM, hard drives, programming languages and relational databases to innovations we use in our everyday lives, such as LASIK eye surgery, automated teller machines and the computerized SABRE airline reservation system.

In 2012, IBM patents covered a range of areas, including, analytics, Big Data, cybersecurity, cloud, mobile, social networking and software defined environments, as well as industry solutions for retail, banking, healthcare, and transportation. These inventions and others will also advance a major shift in computing, known cognitive systems.

So, what are some of these new inventions? They range from a system that senses emerging traffic patterns and delivers predictive traffic information to vehicles with GPS systems, to a system that can analyze text documents and identify and extract opinions from it. Another new invention is a semiconductor device that will enable ultra-thin, lightweight and flexible products and can be applied to a wide range of technologies such as biomedical, security, wearable computing and solid-state lighting.

Mark Dean talks about his motivation for inventing the IBM PC.

You never know where a patent's use is going to lead.

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The inventors

IBM's record-setting 2012 patent tally was was made possible by more than 8,000 IBMers residing in 46 different U.S. states and 35 countries. IBM inventors residing outside the U.S. contributed to nearly 30% of the company's 2012 U.S. patent output.

Bijan Davari on the importance of team building.

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