Patent activity is one of the most important parameters to determine company’s innovation, their technology evolution, current focus of R&D department and any joint research done with other companies. Also, we know that since 1993, every year IBM has won the title of filing most number of patents.
“But what are they inventing and where they are heading ?” This question was the only motivation for us to go ahead with the study. In March 2010, Stellarix, a patent research and analytics firm, did a patent landscape to study the technology evolution of IBM for period 1999-2009. The focus of the study was done only for US granted patents. The objective of the study was to identify the key technology areas of IBM research. Also, what is the current focus of R&D department.
Backward citations, which is an important parameter to measure the strength of the patent was also studied (both patent and non patent). A patent having less number of backward citations implies that the invention in the patent is relatively newer and is in a niche state of growth. This parameter was studied to evaluate the trend of each technology area. It gave an indication of all those areas on which R&D department of IBM is focusing on improvement of the existing technology and in which areas they are moving towards the niche area of the technology.
Many key observations were made during the study which includes IBM’s R&D activity during the period 1999 – 2009 and the current shift in the activity of R&D department.
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