So just how many great ideas did you have last year? IBM managed to come up with 4895 during the course of 2009 that were good enough to be granted patents from the US Patent and Trademarks Office, cementing the Big Blue reputation as being King of the Patents. That eclipses the previous record breaking year of 2008 when IBM were granted 4186 of the things.

Amazingly this means that IBM has topped the US patents chart for 17 years now, and is showing no sign of slowing down when it comes to innovation and invention. Samsung finished second in the race and Microsoft third, but the numbers of patents just cannot touch Big Blue. Samsung managed to file 3828 successful patents, while Microsoft were successful with 2903.

Of course, while there is a serious side to all this I cannot help but wonder how many truly idiotic patents were granted in 2009 that cover technology. If anyone has any examples of stupid patents in this field I'd love to hear them, as long as they can take on the worst of 2008 which included Microsoft patenting Page Up Page Down and Amazon patenting the awarding of a virtual badge.

My favourite for 2009 so far would probably have to be Nintendo which has patented a bouncy cushion games controller.

About the Author

A freelance technology journalist for 30 years, I have been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro (one of the best selling computer magazines in the UK) for most of them. As well as currently contributing to, The Times and Sunday Times via Raconteur Special Reports, SC Magazine UK, Digital Health, IT Pro and Infosecurity Magazine, I am also something of a prolific author. My last book, Being Virtual: Who You Really are Online, which was published in 2008 as part of the Science Museum TechKnow Series by John Wiley & Sons. I am also the only three times winner (2006, 2008, 2010) of the BT Information Security Journalist of the Year title, and was humbled to be presented with the ‘Enigma Award’ for a ‘lifetime contribution to information security journalism’ in 2011 despite my life being far from over...

well, this isn't a suprise. The only thing that suprises me is that Microsoft isnt bankrupt with the stuff they pull