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IBM celebrates Master Inventors

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Albany/HV: IBM celebrates Master Inventors
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IBM is recognizing a number of Master Inventors located in Poughkeepsie and East Fishkill who helped the computer giant become the first company to earn over 6,000 U.S. patents in a single year. Our John Wagner has the story.

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- With about 100 patents to his name, Balaram Sinharoy is one of many IBM Master Inventors owning their title. He's worked nineteen years for IBM, which also marks the number of consecutive years the computer giant has earned more U.S. patents than any other company.

"Because of all these innovations, they'll be a lot faster, they'll take a lot less energy, they'll be a lot more secure, a lot more reliable," said Sinharoy, a Distinguished Engineer working in the power systems division at IBM.

Although technology users may not understand all the little innovations behind computers becoming greener or batteries lasting longer, but with 6,180 patents in 2011, BMers say it all adds up.

"We see problems in our own local community, we want to solve them and then once those problems are solved locally, those become ideas and we use them in IBM to help others around the world," explained Patrick Meaney, another Master Inventor who works in the mainframe computers division.

"No matter what people do here everybody's thinking about ways they can do things better and that's what the patent process is all about," said IBM spokesperson Michael Rowinski.

Close to 800 patents came out of just the Poughkeepsie and East Fishkill sites. That's more than the entire 2011 registry from Apple or from other large companies like Google, AT&T and the makers of Blackberry phones.

"The reason for that is the culture of innovation that we have and the breadth and scope of the computer industry that IBM has," said Sinharoy.

IBM spends about $6 billion annually on research and development and Big Blue says it has plenty of new things up its sleeve. Like keeping a system going even when parts of its memory is crashing.

"If you're online playing games, that's not going to go down," explained Meaney, a Senior Technical Staff Member who has over 40 patents to his name in his 25 years at IBM. "Obviously if you're doing any banking, it makes sure that they don't lose your records."

And IBM's future is bright with a role in smarter city engineering.

"Our mainframe computers power the largest banks in the world, airlines and insurance companies," said Rowinski. "And more and more, they're starting to work in our cities. Powering traffic systems, water management systems and that's helping us make better, more efficient use of our energy, saving people time and helping build a smarter planet."

To see a list of the tip 50 patent recipients, visit ificlaims.com/index.php?page=misc_Top_50_2011.

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