International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) has done it again. For the 21st year in a row, the computer and software services giant has received the most patents of any company worldwide. IBM received 6,809 patents in 2013, with almost one-third of the patents being issued by foreign patent offices. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) had the second most patents awarded in 2013, followed by Japanese electronics company CANON INC.(TYO:7751).

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IBM has held patent crown for 21 years

It’s no coincidence that International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) won the global patent crown this year, as the Armonk, New York-based concern has produced the most patents of any company for 21 consecutive years. IBM’s patents came from the research of dozens of research teams in a number of countries, and the 2013 patents represent the work of inventors from 41 different countries.

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM)’s patent portfolio generates almost $1 billion a year in licensing revenue for the company.

Big Blue focusing on analytics and cloud computing

With PC and enterprise hardware sales in slow-growth mode over the last few years, International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) has retooled its strategy to focus on the fast-growing data analytics and cloud-computing sectors. Big Blue has acquired a number of smaller companies in their quest to redirect the company, and has also made a huge bet on cognitive technology with their Watson “super computer”.

IBM’s Watson gets its own division

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) announced last Thursday that it is forming a separate division for Watson, and plans to invest more than a billion dollars in the new division. They also eventually plan to employ 2,000 people as part of the project.

The idea behind cognitive technology is a computer that can analyze huge amounts of data, but is able to answer questions using spoken language. Bernie Meyerson, vice president for innovation at IBM, highlighted that the new and improved Watson relies on many recent patents. “The work on cognitive is based on numerous of the patents that were just issued related to Watson,” Meyerson said in an interview from IBM’s headquarters. “That new division is now a major commercial focus. By funding research in that area, you will fund patents in that area.”