IBM wins most U.S. patents in 2008

A view of the IBM facility outside Boulder, Colorado October 18, 2006. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

(Reuters) - International Business Machines Corp said on Wednesday it became the first company ever to win more than 4,000 U.S. patents in a single year, citing a new report from research firm IFI Patent Intelligence.

IBM said it earned 4,186 U.S. patents in 2008, more than triple the number of patents earned by rival Hewlett-Packard.

Microsoft Corp earned 2,030 patents, while Intel Corp had 1,776 and Hewlett-Packard 1,424, according to the report, which compiled data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics had the second-highest number of patents at 3,515.

A wireless system that detects a child’s presence in a baby car seat and a method for blind people to find their way around using radio frequency identification are among the patents IBM Scientists won in 2008, IBM said.

The company also earned a patent for developing a cheaper way to build nanotechnology used to make chips.

The Armonk, New York-based company said it plans to increase by 50 percent -- to more than 3,000 -- the number of technical inventions it publishes annually instead of seeking patent protection in an attempt to spur open and wide-scale innovation.

IBM also said it would contribute the capabilities of IBM Research to a collaborative project that is developing an empirical measure of patent quality.

Reporting by Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore and Anupreeta Das in San Francisco; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter