Each year the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) rates the quality of companies’ patent portfolios, and this year again, Microsoft’s portfolio is rated the strongest in the software industry. It’s the third straight year that Microsoft has topped the IEEE Spectrum Patent Scorecard.

In another independent survey released this week, Microsoft ranked #1 in the Patent Board Scorecard, far surpassing all other information technology companies in the strength of our science and technology. Also this week,Forbes named Microsoft on its list of America’s Most Inventive Companies, based on the strength of our patent portfolio and return on R&D investments. And in January, Bloomberg BusinessWeek assessed Microsoft’s patent portfolio as having the highest value, beating out other leaders including IBM and Samsung. The magazine also placed Microsoft at the top of its Most Inventive Companies list. “These consistently high marks from experts in the industry signify that Microsoft’s focus on high-quality patent protection is working,” Bart Eppenauer, Microsoft’s chief patent counsel, wrote on a corporate blog. “Microsoft invests more than $9 billion annually in research and development, and the innovations that result from that R&D commitment are directly related to the quality of our patents.”
Microsoft was issued 2,918 patents in 2009, and its portfolio has tripled in size in the past five years. The most valuable ones cover data processing, file structure and transfer, computer graphics and user interface, Business Week reported. In the scorecards, Microsoft ranked ahead of corporations such as IBM, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, Apple and Google.