IBM retained it crown as the top U.S. patent recipient in 2011, for the 19th consecutive year, grabbing a record-setting 6,180 last year. Its patent activity was four times higher than Hewlett-Packard and six times greater than software maker Oracle. "The inventions we patent each year deliver significant value to IBM, our clients and partners and demonstrate a measurable return on our approximately $6 billion annual investment in research and development," IBM's Ken King said in a statement.

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