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IBM crowned patent king for 20th year in a row

The computing giant wins the patent game again, but it looks like Samsung, Google, and Apple will be tough competitors in the future.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read
IFI Claims Patent Services

IBM has always been known for raking in more U.S. patents than any other company, but this year signals a landmark: not only is it IBM's 20th consecutive year of earning more patents than any other company, it also made a single-year record with 6,478 issued patents, according to the annual tally published today by IFI Claims Patent Services.

"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," IBM chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty said in a statement. "Most concretely, our 2012 patent record and the two decades of leadership it extends are a testament to thousands of brilliant IBM inventors."

Coming in second and third place were Samsung with 5,081 issued patents, and Canon with 3,174 issued patents. Both Google and Apple made the top 50 list, in the 21st and 22nd places, respectively. And while they weren't at the head of the list, they both did far better than in year's past.

According to the New York Times, Google, with 1,151 patents issued, had a 170 percent jump over last year. And, Apple, which was awarded 1,136 patents this year and 1,236 last year, has had a 68 percent jump since 2011.

"Google and Apple are clearly taking intellectual property very seriously, and playing to win," chief executive of IFI Mike Baycroft told the New York Times.

Of IBM's granted patents, around 200 were security related, showing that the company is looking toward technology's growing emphasis on security and privacy. Other IBM patents issued were in areas of health, analytics, cloud, mobile, banking, social networking, and more.

From 1993 to 2012, IBM has received almost 67,000 U.S. patents. This year, 8,000 of the company's inventors worked on developing the record 6,478 granted patents.