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IBM Tops U.S Patent Office Record Year

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If patents are to be taken as hallmarks of ingenuity and progress, then 2012 was the greatest year ever for innovation in the U.S.

A new report issued today from IFI CLAIMS Patent Services reveals that there was a 13 percent gain in patents issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in 2012, up to a record 253,155 utility patents.

“For the past five years, the world’s appetite for U.S. patents has been seemingly insatiable,” said Mike Baycroft, CEO, IFI CLAIMS Patent Services in a statement.

The report also identifies the Top-50 U.S.Patent Assignees for 2012 and the leader should come as no surprise. For the 20th consecutive year, IBM leads the list. IBM’s patent tally rose by 5 percent in 2012, giving Big Blue 6,478 patents.

In contrast, Google came in 21st just a mere 15 patents ahead of Apple, which landed the number 22 spot on the Top US patent list. Both Google and Apple dramatically increased their patent holdings during 2012. According to the report, Google’s 2012 patents increased by 170 percent over 2011, while Apple’s rose by 68 percent.

“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.

IBM received its first patent on July 25th, 1911 with U.S. patent #998,631. That patent was for a punch card tabulation machine innovation and marked the earliest beginnings of modern data storage.

“The very first patent was the foundation of early automated computing, where the punch card tabulation system is the heart of efficient data processing,” IBM Fellow and VP of Innovation, Bernie Meyerson said in 2011 on the hundredth anniversary of IBM’s first patent. “Although it doesn’t seem like mind numbing technology today, the fact of the matter is this was a game changer a hundred years ago.”

Cloud patents

IBM’s 2012 patents have come a long way since then and include new innovations that will impact enterprise IT virtualization and cloud technologies. One such example is U.S Patent #8,341,441 titled, ‘Reducing energy consumption in a cloud computing environment’ and was issued by the USPTO on December 25th, 2012.

“Functionality can be implemented within a cloud manager to leverage energy consumption data of cloud processing and their associated facility resources when selecting computing nodes to complete the job,” the patent abstract states.

IBM was also granted a number of patents in 2012 that are directly related to the company’s PureSystems integrated application server technologies. PureSystems integrates hardware and software into packages of patterns that are intended to enable easier deployment and management.

US Patent # 8,291,378 enables IBM’s PureSystems with an innovation titled, ‘Simplified deployment modeling.’

“A deployment modeling platform enables a user to model application characteristics of target software and to associate application modeling parameters to the modeled application characteristics,” the patent abstract states. “A user may also model environment characteristics of a target deployment environment and to associate environment modeling parameters to the modeled deployment environment characteristics.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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