IBM is U.S. patent king in 2008; first to 4,000 patents

Talk about a lot of brainpower.IBM said today that it became the first company ever to win more than 4,000 U.

IBM’s brainpower
Talk about a lot of brainpower.

IBM said today that 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, Reuters reports.

Big Blue said it earned 4,186 U.S. patents in 2008, more than three times the number of patents earned by rival Hewlett-Packard. Microsoft earned 2,030 patents, while Intel had 1,776 and HP had 1,424, according to the report, which compiled data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Samsung had the second-highest number of patents at 3,515.

Some of IBM's patents include a wireless system that detects a child's presence in a baby car seat, a method for blind people to find their way around using radio frequency identification, and a cheaper way to build nanotechnology used to make chips.

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