IBM inventors received a record 9,100 patents in 2018, marking the company's 26th consecutive year of U.S. patent leadership.
IBM led the industry in the number of artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, security and quantum computing-related patent grants.
The 1,600 AI patents IBM inventors were granted in 2018 include new ways to use AI to help the company converse and protect the earth's lakes and waterways. AI also played a large role in the more than 1,400 security patents IBM inventors were granted in 2018, including an AI-powered security approach to combat voice phishing.
IBM inventors received more than 2,000 cloud computing patents in 2018, including a patent on a specialized monitor for unikernel-based virtual machines that takes a lightweight approach to improving isolation and security between a cloud application and its host, while also reducing provisioning times and improving performance.
IBM inventors also continue to break ground in the development of blockchain and its rapid pace of global adoption. IBM was granted a patent on an approach for encrypting data stored in a blockchain. Members of a blockchain network can put data on a blockchain that they would like to share with other blockchain network members. However, instead of storing the data openly for any of the blockchain participants to see, members can encrypt their data within the blockchain and only those that have been given a decryption key can read the data. IBM has enabled this patented capability to users of the open source Hyperledger Fabric.
IBM researchers also patented significant inventions in quantum computing, including a new way of miniaturizing components to improve the performance of quantum computers.
The new patents were granted to a diverse group of more than 8,500 IBM inventors in 47 different U.S. states and 48 countries.