IBMhas once again topped the list of annual US patent recipients, receiving 7 355 patents in 2015, marking the 23rd consecutive year of leadership.
IBM’s 2015 patent results represent a diverse range of inventions as well as a strong and growing focus on cognitive solutions and the cloud platform as the company positions itself for leadership in a new era of computing.
“During IBM’s 23 years atop the patent list, the company’s inventors have received more than 88 000 US patents,” says Ginni Rometty, IBM’s chairman, president and CEO. “IBM’s investments in R&D continue to shape the future of computing through cognitive computing and the cloud platform that will help our clients drive transformation across multiple industries. IBM’s patent leadership demonstrates our unparalleled commitment to the fundamental R&D necessary to drive progress in business and society.”
IBM is followed by Samung with 5 072 patents, Canon with 4 134, Qualcomm with 2 900, Google with 2 835, Toshiba with 2 627, Sony with 2 455, LG with 2 242, Intel with 2 048 and Microsoft with 1 956.
IBM inventors generated more than 2 000 patents in areas related to cognitive computing and the company’s cloud platform.
In the area of cognitive computing and artificial intelligence, IBM inventors developed new technologies that can help machines learn, reason, and efficiently process diverse data types while interacting with people in natural and familiar ways. For example:
* Helping machines understand emotion: For most of the history of computing, humans have had to play by the machines’ rules –mostly typing or pushing buttons to make ourselves understood. In the cognitive era, machines will increasingly listen and talk to us. A group of scientists from IBM Research’s China lab patented a system that helps machines interpret emotion-laden words so they can converse with us in more natural ways. (Patent US9117446).
* Helping computers learn from us: Unlike conventional computers, cognitive systems can learn from experience. A team invented technology that helps computers understand language by interacting with humans. The goal is to help computers figure out whether they’re interacting with a human or a machine. The invention then could be used by a Web site that sells tickets to events to weed out bots controlled by scalpers, for example. (Patent US9146917).
IBM inventors are also focused on innovations that will help advance its cloud platform. For example:
* Helping your cloud to run faster and more efficiently: One advantage of cloud computing is that resources can be provisioned from all over the planet. Even though you can use resources from all over, a cloud runs more efficiently if network latency between the resources, and between end users and resources, can be minimized. IBM computer scientists have developed and patented a way to lay out a topology of available resources and determine the shortest network routes between them, and to the end users. The best, most efficient configuration of resources can then be utilized at the time of provisioning. (Patent US8972986).
* Drawing resources from all over to get the job done: IBM inventors have developed a way for clouds to request extra computing resources from other clouds to manage intensive workloads that have extra capacity to share. At the same time, clouds that have sufficient resources available can also alert other clouds when high profile events are coming up. This allows computing tasks to be completed more quickly and efficiently, and is all done in a seamless fashion that is transparent to end users. (Patent US9009722).
IBM inventors are also focused on innovations that will help transform industries. For example:
* Effective communications at international travel venues: Travel hubs such as international airports need to get information to passengers that speak different languages as quickly and efficiently as possible. IBM inventors have come up with a way to detect which languages are being spoken most often among a group of travellers. Announcements are then translated into those languages, and are made according to the order of the languages being most frequently spoken. (Patent US9015032).
* Enhancing patient care through machine learning: Cognitive systems use various algorithms to help generate intelligent insights used to make decisions when analysing large and disparate data sources. These cognitive systems can be used to help medical professionals identify evidence-based treatment options for their patients. IBM inventors have patented an invention that identifies algorithms based on specific medical categories to help doctors identify personalized treatment options. (Patent US9171478).
More than 8 500 IBMers residing in 50 states and territories and 46 countries are responsible for IBM’s 2015 patent tally. IBM inventors who reside outside the US contributed to more than 36% of the company’s 2015 patents.