IBM tops US patent list for 26th consecutive year: 4 notes on its work in AI, blockchain & more

Inventors at IBM received 9,100 patents in 2018, marking the company's 26th consecutive year of earning the most U.S. patents.

Nearly half of the patents IBM was granted in 2018 related to artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing or quantum computing. In total, patents were awarded to more than 8,500 IBM inventors based in nearly 50 countries, including the U.S.

Four highlights:

1. Artificial intelligence. AI played a large role in the more than 1,400 security patents IBM received last year, including an approach to combat voice phishing.

2. Blockchain. IBM was granted a patent on a way to encrypt data stored on a blockchain record, so that only members with a decryption key can read the data, rather than anyone on the network.

3. Cloud. One of IBM's patents related to cloud computing detailed a specialized monitor that could help organizations more easily move data and applications across cloud and on-premise environments.

4. Quantum computing. IBM patented an approach to miniaturize components, which the company said can improve the performance of quantum computers.

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