IBM tops list of US patent recipients, again

IBM has once again beaten yearly patent records, racking up 7,534 patents in 2014 -- an average of 20 patents per day.

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IBM has once again beaten yearly patent records, racking up 7,534 patents in 2014 - more than any company has done, ever. The fete also marks IBM's 22nd year atop the annual list of US patent recipients.

Broken down into daily figures, that means IBM received an average of 20 patents per day in 2014.

The top 10 list mirrors last year's rankings, with Samsung in second, Canon in third, and Sony and Microsoft rounding out the top five.

IBM's patents run the gamut from analytics and big data to cognitive computing and neural networks. The last year proved to be one of significant cloud investment on the part of IBM, with Big Blue investing more than $7 billion in 17 acquisitions to ramp up its cloud initiatives. IBM currently holds over 1,500 cloud patents.

"We take the responsibility of patent leadership seriously because it is an important barometer of our commitment to fundamental R&D and it enables IBMers to consistently pioneer new technologies that solve problems for our customers," John Kelly, the SVP of solutions portfolio and research for IBM, said in a statement.

While the patent win is a bragging moment for IBM, the swollen US patent system has long caught the ire of smaller players grappling with the costs and risks associated with a patent investment. Judging from its past, IBM's patent strategy seems to be to hoard as many as it can and then sell them off later to the likes of Google and Facebook.

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