In quantity, if not quality...
IBM was has been named as the top recipient of US patents for the 10th consecutive year.
Big Blue was awarded 3,288 patents during the past year, making it the top recipient among private sector companies for the 10th year in a row, according to the US Patent and Trademark Office. Canon ranked second during in 2002 with 1,893 patents.
IBM has generated just over 22,000 patents during the last 10 years, but those patents have changed with the times, IBM researchers said.
Many of the company's newest patents are related to servers, grid computing and self-healing, or autonomic computers and how to better put them to use for customers.
Ravi Arimilli, an IBM research fellow, said: "The patent process has a lot to do with what customers are thinking about or where IBM wants to go into the market. The new technologies we're pursuing are for where we see growth in the industry."
Arimilli himself had 78 patents awarded during 2002. The technologies his patents cover went into IBM's Power4 processor for servers -as well as into its eventual successor, the Power5 -and into the p690 server, which is built around the Power4.
"I'm kind of like the thread that crosses all these different technologies and then produces an architecture that IBM goes to market with," Arimilli said, of working with various teams inside the company to develop new products.
Arimilli is part of a small army of inventors in the employ of IBM. Big Blue, which spent $5.5bn on research in 2001, has a staff of about 3,000 researchers, though about 5,000 people across the company contributed to its 2002 patent total.
John G Spooner writes for News.com