IBM Received Record 2,658 U.S. Patents Last Year

IBM was awarded a record 2,658 U.S. patents in 1998, the sixth consecutive year the company received the most patents.

The record total of patents was 934 more than IBM received in 1997. Canon was a distant second last year with 1,925 patents. More than 700 of the IBM patents were software-related and more than 375 related to network computing. Nicholas Donofrio, senior VP, technology and manufacturing, says that more than a third of the technologies represented by the patents are already in products and solutions currently available from IBM.

"Our patent success over the past six years is directly contributing to IBM's growth and is instrumental in helping our customers establish themselves as e-businesses," Donofrio says.

Several dozen patents were awarded for IBM's two major chip breakthroughs of last year -- silicon germanium and silicon-on-insulator. Other patents of note included a cryptographic key recovery system, allowing IBM to export strong cryptography for secure e-business applications; an automatic sales promotion and selection system and method that uses neural networks to help businesses identify promising sales promotions based on customer purchasing patterns; and a system for changing user interfaces based on display data content that allows content to be displayed based on the specific interests and information needs of multiple users.

--D. Callaghan