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IBM Tops List Of 2011 Patent Recipients

The company captures more than 6,000 patents, and touts lead over rivals, including HP and Oracle.

The top five patent winners in 2011, after IBM, were Samsung (4,894 patents), Canon (2,821), Panasonic (2,559) and Toshiba (2,483).

More than 8,000 IBM employees working in 46 U.S. states and 36 countries were responsible for the company's 2011 patent tally, according to the company. In an indication of how global IBM has become, IBM inventors working outside of the U.S. contributed to more than 26 percent of the year's patents.

In addition to being the most patents IBM ever received in one year (the company got 5,896 patents in 2010), the 6,180 patents IBM received in 2011 is the most ever awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to one company in a single year.

The patents earned in 2011 covered a broad range of computing technologies, including what IBM described as technologies "poised to support a new generation of more cognitive, intelligent and insight-driven systems, processes and infrastructures for smarter commerce, shopping, medicine, transportation, and more."

U.S. patent #8,019,992, for example, was awarded to IBM for a "method for granting user privileges in electronic commerce security domains," while patent #8,037,000 covered "systems and methods for automated interpretation of analytic procedures."

U.S. patent #8,005,773 was for a "system and method for cortical stimulation," a computerized brain simulation system that can mimic the cognitive systems and functions of the brain cortex, IBM said. And patent #7,882,219 covered technology for "deploying analytic functions."

"IBM's commitment to invention and scientific exploration is unmatched in any industry and the results of this dedication to enabling innovation is evidenced in our nearly two decades of U.S. patent leadership,” said Ken King, IBM general manager, Intellectual Property and vice president, Research Business Development, in a statement. “The inventions we patent each year deliver significant value to IBM, our clients and partners and demonstrate a measurable return on our approximately $6 billion annual investment in research and development.”

IBM didn't hesitate to highlight how much of a patent lead it has over its key competitors. Microsoft was #6 on the list with 2,311 patents in 2011. Beyond the Top 10 were Hewlett-Packard (1,308 patents), Oracle (918) and EMC (282).

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