RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – IBMers continue to drive innovation, earning a record 9,043 U.S. patents in 2017 and thus leading in patents won for the 25th consecutive year. Its patents are up 12 percent over 2016.

Of those, 1,000 were awarded based on work done in North Carolina, an IBM spokesperson tells WRAL TechWire.

Samsung Electronics came in second with more than 5,800. However, when all Samsung awards across multiple business units is combined the South Korea-based company is only 150 behind, according to EE Times. Canon came in third followed by Intel.

Overall, patents grew by 5 percent to a record of more than 320,000, according to new data from IFI CLAIMS Patent Services . U.S. firms were awarded 46 percent of these patents.  Asian companies landed 31 percent and European companies received 15 percent.

Of those IBM patents, some 1,900 are related to cloud computing.

Another 1,400 cover applications for artificial intelligence.

Both business segments have been key areas of investment and focus by Chair and CEO Ginni Rometty.

Another 1,200 patents were awarded in cybersecurity. IBM also earned patents in blockchain as well as quantum computing. (IBM’s patent emphasis is also discussed in an online video.)

“For the past 25 years, IBM’s patent leadership has changed the way the world works with advancements critical to the modern era of computing,” said Rometty in a statement. “Today, nearly half of our patents are pioneering advancements in AI, cloud computing, cybersecurity, blockchain and quantum computing – and all are aimed at helping our clients create smarter businesses.”

Big Blue, which employs several thousand people in Research Triangle Park and across North Carolina, says more than 8,500 of its employees spread across 47 countries, teamed to achieve the record.

IBM also says it now holds some 105,000 patents.


According to IBM, advances include “a new way for improving a quantum computer’s ability to acquire and retain information – otherwise known as signal readout fidelity. This can lead to efficiency in the components necessary to build a quantum computing system.”

For more information about IBM and patents, see