February 16, 2009 IBM once owned the computer marketplace, and although it no longer holds quite such prominence in the digital arena, it has retained the Number One Plate Holder's title at the US Patent Office for 16 years straight, winning the 2008 "most innovative" championship with 4,186 U.S. Patents, beating Samsung (3515) and Canon (2114). Indeed, last year its issuances were greater than Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, Apple, EMC, Accenture and Google combined.

The company's research efforts of recent times have astounded even seasoned patent watchers – on February 3 it filed a patent for bionic body armor which not only recognises a bullet has been fired, but delivers a shock to the target's appropriate muscles so they step out fo the bullet's trajectory.