International Business Machines Corp said on Wednesday it became the first company ever to win more than 4,000 US patents in a single year, citing a new report from research firm IFI Patent Intelligence.
IBM said it earned 4,186 US patents in 2008, more than triple the number of patents earned by rival Hewlett-Packard.
Microsoft Corp earned 2,030 patents, while Intel Corp had 1,776 and Hewlett-Packard 1,424, according to the report, which compiled data from the US Patent and Trademark Office. Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics had the second-highest number of patents at 3,515.
A wireless system that detects a child's presence in a baby car seat and a method for blind people to find their way around using radio frequency identification are among the patents IBM Scientists won in 2008, IBM said.
The company also earned a patent for developing a cheaper way to build nanotechnology used to make chips.
The Armonk, New York-based company said it plans to increase by 50 per cent to more than 3,000 the number of technical inventions it publishes annually instead of seeking patent protection in an attempt to spur open and wide-scale innovation.
IBM also said it would contribute the capabilities of IBM Research to a collaborative project that is developing an empirical measure of patent quality.