IBM received 4,914 U.S. patents in 2009, marking the 17th consecutive year it has topped the list of the world's most inventive companies.
IBM's 2009 patent total nearly quadrupled Hewlett-Packard's and exceeded the combined issuances of Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, Apple, Accenture and Google. Samsung holds the second place in the listing with 3,611 patents, according to data provided by IFI Patent Intelligence.
In addition, IBM published almost 4,000 technical inventions in 2009, instead of seeking patent protection, thereby making the inventions freely available to others. Consequently, the inventions are freely available in a public database of prior art and can be cited by patent offices in limiting the scope of patent applications.
IBM also plans to provide access to its invention and patent portfolio management software and know-how through engagements with clients.
IBM's patent and IP experts have developed and used the patent management software for over a decade to help analyze, assess and effectively administer its portfolio of more than 30,000 U.S. patents. The patent management software has enabled IBM to balance its patent and intellectual property strategy with its business needs and generate new ways to derive more value from patents.
"We are making our IP know-how and patent management software available because clients have increasingly approached IBM for insight into how to effectively establish and manage their own patent and IP portfolios," said Kevin Reardon, general manager of Intellectual Property and vice president of Research Business Development for IBM. "This approach is consistent with our commitment to working with others to encourage an environment of collaboration and cooperation in the patent and intellectual property arena."
Under the patent and IP management offering, IBM will provide clients with know-how to help them plan, create and leverage their established or emerging IP portfolios; the guidance will not include legal advice. The know-how IBM will offer can help clients assess an IP infrastructure, identify high potential invention opportunity areas, and build an intellectual property portfolio. IBM also will teach clients about developing and implementing a strategic planning framework, harvesting intellectual property, and establishing culture of innovation. To help clients learn how to leverage their IP, IBM will offer insight on licensing, establishing best-of-breed patent management practices, and ways to help expand market opportunities.
Access to a Lotus Notes-based version of IBM's patent portfolio management software is currently available to clients in know-how engagements, and a Web-based version of the tool is in development for the second-half of 2010. IBM will provide access to expert consultants from its Intellectual Property and Licensing team to help devise a plan that can meet the individual needs of clients interested in using the software.
IBM's patent management know-how offering is immediately available. Pricing will be determined on a case-by-case basis.