IBM has raked in more patents than anybody for 20 consecutive years

Thinking about beefing up your IP profile? Try giving IBM a call. For twenty consecutive years, it's been awarded more patents than any other company. According to IFI Claims Patent Services, IBM was issued 6,478 patents in 2012. To put things into perspective, its closest competitor, Samsung, trailed Big Blue by nearly 1,500 patents. No small wonder the company is the tech world's intellectual property broker.

Some of the year's biggest patent warriors made the top 50 list too. Both Apple and Google's patent awards grew significantly over previous years, surpassing 2011's numbers by 68 and 170 percent, respectively. The house that T.J. Waston built, on the other hand, grew only a meager 4.8 percent. Still, with patents in health, banking, defense, social networking, cloud computing and beyond, IBM probably has a few years left at the top. Ever onward, IBM. Ever onward.

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IBM caps two decades as heavyweight champion of the patent world