IBM was granted the most patents in the US in 2018, the company’s twenty-sixth consecutive year at the top of the ranking.
Big Blue received a record 9,100 patents last year, nearly half of which were related to innovations in AI (1600 patents), cloud computing (2000 patents), security (1400 patents), blockchain and quantum computing.
More than 150 patents came from IBM inventors with residence in Australia. Among them was an ‘image reconstruction’ technique to predict of age related macular degeneration – which is responsible for half of all cases of blindness.
The innovation – developed by Rahil Garnavi, Dwarikanath Mahapatra and Suman Sedai – generates 3D structural information from a 2D view of a retinal fundus image, sidestepping the need for expensive Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) equipment.
Another patent awarded this year – to Australian-based IBM inventors John Wagner and Timothy Lynar – was received for an innovation to “cognitively determine” a user’s preferred learning style based on information provided by the user, similar user groups, and how the user manipulates information between different software applications.
“IBM is committed to leading the way on the technologies that change the way the world works – and solving problems many people have not even thought of yet,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and CEO.
“Our clients and their customers are the beneficiaries of these innovations, particularly our leadership in AI, cloud, blockchain and security for business,” she added.
Ford makes top ten
The top ten ranking of patents granted – compiled by IFI Patent Claims Services from US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) data – was dominated by technology companies. Samsung ranked second in the list of US patents granted (with 5850), followed by Canon (3056), Intel (2735), LG (2474), Taiwan Semiconductor (2465), Microsoft (2353), Qualcomm (2300) and Apple (2160).
However, car manufacturer Ford took tenth place with 2123 patents granted, many relating to self-driving vehicle technologies.
Places 11 to 20 were taken by Google, Amazon, Toyota, Samsung Displays, Sony, Huawei, IoT technology company BOE, General Electric, Hyundai and Ericsson.
Overall, the number of patents granted by the USPTO fell 3.5 per cent from 2017. US companies received 46 per cent of these patents. Asian companies received 31 per cent and European companies received 15 per cent.
China was the only nation to be awarded more patents than the previous year: receiving 12,589 US patents in 2018, a 12 per cent increase on the previous year. However, Chinese companies represent only four per cent of the total patents granted.