Big Increase in AI, Cognitive and Cloud Computing Patents in 2016
Written by Janet Swift   
Monday, 16 January 2017

IBM and Samsung head the charts for most US Patent grants in 2016. Which comes top depends on whose statistics you choose, but more interesting is what the patents relate to.




The United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a record number of 304,126 utility patents during 2016, according to IFI Claims Service. Its figures put IBM as the company awarded the most patent grants, but notice that Samsung, second in its ranking also appears again at #12. 



The alternative listing, complied by, combines subsidiaries with parent companies and doing this puts Samsung top and also improves the ranking of LG which comes in at #3 rather than #7. 


Either way IBM's claim that it has broken the US patent record with over eight thousand patents still holds - but so has Samsung according to the Sqoop method. And Sqoop invalidate IBM's boast that it was #1 on the US Patent List for the 24th consecutive year. 

IFI Claims also looks at the geographic distribution of companies assigned US patents, finding the top five to be:

Country  %
United States  41
Japan  28
Korea  15
Taiwan   4
Germany   3


Other statistics from IFI Claims relate to the international Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) codes. In 2016 the top code was G06F Electrical Digital Data Processing with 47,102 patents granted. This code accounted for over 15% of the total number granted and was well ahead of all other codes. It saw a 6% increase from 2015 and for IBM saw an 18% increase. 

Examples cited by IBM of its 2016 patents include US Patent #9,384,450: Training machine learning models for open-domain question answering system (Watson) and  #9,384,661: Cognitive needs-based trip planning which are part of the G06F category. Many of the Samsung patents were also in the category.

H04L, Transmission of Digital Information, was the second most popular code with 30,608 patents granted (10%), up 5.25% overall since 2015 and for IBM up 25%. Examples of cloud computing patents awarded to IBM in 2016 include #9,329,908: Proactive identification of hotspots in a cloud computing environment and .#9,336,061 Integrating metering of service usage for hybrid clouds.

Of course, it takes years for a patent application to become a utility grant. Commenting on IBM's record number of patents - up 10% on any previous year, Chief Innovation Officer, Bernie Meyerson said:

"The emergence of the cognitive era helped us get a jump on nearly everyone. Watson didn’t happen when Jeopardy happened - it happened at least five years before."









More Information

IBM Inventors Receive Record-Breaking 8,000+ Patents in 2016

Most Inventive Companies of 2016 Based on Patent Activity

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Last Updated ( Monday, 16 January 2017 )