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IBM this week announced that it set a new U.S. patent record in 2011, marking the 19th consecutive year that the company has led the annual list of patent recipients. IBM inventors earned a record 6180 U.S. patents in 2011, more than quadrupling Hewlett-Packard’s issuances and exceeding by six times those of Oracle/Sun.

The more than 6,000 patents IBMers received in 2011 represent a range of inventions that enable new innovations and add significant value to the company's products, services, including smarter solutions for retail, banking, healthcare, transportation and other industries. These patented inventions also span a wide range of computing 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.

More than 8000 IBMers residing in 46 different U.S. states and 36 countries are responsible for the company's record-breaking 2011 patent tally. IBM inventors who reside outside the U.S. contributed to more than 26% of the company's 2011 patents.

"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. 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," said Ken King, general manager of intellectual property and vice president of research business development at IBM.

IBM's record-breaking 2011 patent output features many interesting and important inventions. Among the key patents were:

  • U.S. Patent #8,019,992: Method for granting user privileges in electronic commerce security domains. The capability enables shoppers and administrators to have access to individual online stores or seamlessly access multiple online stores managed by the same company. It also is a key feature in enabling multiple companies to run on a single instance of WebSphere Commerce.
  • U.S. Patent #8,037,000: Systems and methods for automated interpretation of analytic procedures. This invention describes a method for dynamically constructing natural language explanations of analytic results using templates defined by domain experts.
  • U.S. Patent #8,005,773: System and method for cortical simulation. This patented invention describes a method for developing a computerized brain simulation system that can mimic the cognitive systems and function of the cortex of the brain. IBM has fabricated working prototypes of experimental computer chips designed to emulate the brain’s abilities for perception, action and cognition.
  • U.S. Patent #7,882,219: Deploying analytic functions. This patented invention empowers users to design and implement highly-sophisticated, streaming analytics on massive disparate data sources.

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