Transfer Pricing Associates

Race to the top

post Tuesday February 5, 2013


While a great deal of intellectual property news centers on the technology giants Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., neither company was a leader in patent accumulation in the United States in 2012.  The leading company to acquire patents in the U.S. was in International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), while Apple ranked only 22nd, one position behind Google.

In the past year, IBM has led US patent acquisition with a total of 6,478 patents. The foundation and focus of IBM’s intellectual property centers on the advancement of innovations that will allow sizeable and fundamental advancements across key sectors of technology. IBM is specifically pursuing developments in sectors ranging from cloud computing, mobile developments, social networking and analytics, to Big Data, cyber security and software defined environments. Additionally, a large portion of the patents relate to software solutions for banking, healthcare, transportation and retail companies.  Another development from IBM’s recent patents is a distinct focus on developing and ushering in a generation of cognitive systems. These platforms have four major characteristics:

1. they are data-centric

2. they are designed for statistical analytics

3. these systems "scale-in"

4. they automate system and workload management.

Another trend within the development of new patents was the large percentage of patents that have originated outside of the United States, totalling about 30% of IBM’s total patent applications. IBM continues to drive technology development globally. IBM has various research centers based in Europe and Asia, and these facilities have proved to be very effective in making IBM a leader in technological advancement. IBM is currently looking to expand into South America to establish a strong presence of research.

Intellectual property development is becoming increasingly global. Like many other companies, IBM continues to dedicate substantial resources to technological advancement and the patent race.


Image source: Free Digital Photos

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