This week, the US Patent and Trademark Office published statistics on patents issued during 2009. The data revealed that Cisco is maintaining an incredible run of innovation that has seen the number of patents secured by the company increase six fold in the past decade, and by more than any other major technology company during the past year.
In 2001 Cisco secured 163 patents, but fueled by an investment in R&D that has been above 10% of company revenues for a decade, that number increased to 913 in the past year. It’s worth noting that Cisco has also been recognized during this time by the Patent Board as the #1 company in its industry in terms of patent quality, technology strength and breadth of impact.
To figure out the importance of patents to Cisco’s innovation strategy, I asked Tony Bates, SVP / GM of Enterprise, Commercial and Small Business technology, (himself the holder of a dozen patents) whether patents are a good measure of innovation, why Cisco continued to invest heavily in R&D during the downturn, and crucially…who holds the most patents at Cisco!