IBM Master Inventor

An IBM Master Inventor is an individual selected by IBM. The qualification and appointment to Master Inventor is governed by the value to IBM of an inventor's contribution to the patent portfolio, and through defensive publication (published in IBM weighs many aspects of an inventor's contributions, including impact of invention through licensing, inclusion in product, and percentage of patents with a measurable impact. IBM also considers an individual's contribution to the inventing community inside IBM, whether by acting as a patent reviewer, or providing feedback and guidance to new inventors.

IBM Master Inventors are appointed to two- to three-year terms, which are sometimes renewed. They are expected to identify new inventions, mentor other employees through the patent process, foster innovative thinking, and help evaluate ideas for patenting. Becoming a Master Inventor is the result of a cumulative contribution to the IBM patent portfolio. According to one Master Inventor [1] the citation reads:

Each year, IBM asks a small group of employees to join the ranks of Master Inventor. This group of people is asked to assist in the identification of new inventions and mentor others in the use of the patent process, among other things. The invitation to become a Master Inventor is based on the value to IBM of an inventors' United States patents during the three prior calendar years. This achievement is significant because it is the result of a cumulative contribution to the IBM patent portfolio, including Corporate Patent Portfolio Awards, Division Patent Portfolio Awards, and Division Supplemental Patent Issuance Awards.

Stories about a few master inventors appear in IBM web pages and external media.[2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12][13]

The book[14] also mentions IBM Master Inventor:

Even so, in 2008, I examined the correlation of career success and patent portfolio at IBM in one of their largest product teams. (Omitted) From a population of 10 Senior Technical Staff Members in that group, 100% had patent filings, and 50% had more than 12 patent filings, earning them IBM's coveted title of Master Inventor.


  1. Dharmendra S Modha's Cognitive Computing Blog .
  2. A Master Inventor at work .
  3. IBM Master Inventor Takes Cell Chip Beyond Games .
  4. Meet IBM's Mark Smith, Master Inventor, San Jose, CA .
  5. 150 Patents Later, What One Female Inventor Learned About Innovation .
  6. "Intrapreneurs And Patents: Lessons Learned". Forbes. Retrieved 10 Feb 2016.
  7. Sushain Pandit, Youngest Master Inventor .
  8. Interview with a serial inventor .
  9. Dimitri Kanevsky: Master of invention .
  10. IBM celebrates Master Inventors .
  11. Bob Friedlander, IBM Master Inventor .
  12. "How this regular programmer became a 'Master Inventor' at IBM". Business Insider. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  13. "Meet IBM Master Inventor Tom Zimmerman".
  14. Sam Lightstone, "Making it Big in Software: Get the Job. Work the Org. Become Great.", Pearson Education, 2010
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