IBM’s quantum patents are a growing part of Big Blue’s prolific IP legacy

Insider information brief

  • IBM is the most prolific US patent holder in 2023 with 3,953 granted patents.
  • A growing number of these patents are in the field of quantum information science.
  • As Big Blue’s quantum patent count grows, other companies and individuals are using IBM Quantum products for their own product innovations and research into the quantum world.

IBM is the most prolific patent holder in the United States in 2023, according to a study by small business lender OnDeck.

The study found that IBM is America’s most innovative company, with 3,953 patents granted by 2023. While IBM has an extensive intellectual property—IP—portfolio, the company’s IP that protects its advances in quantum computing is growing.

In this article, we will focus on the growing number of quantum patents in this portfolio. It’s also important to note that IBM’s quantum intellectual property portfolio is involved in another aspect of the patent collection process: many companies now rely on IBM Quantum, both in research and in actual equipment, to create its own collection of patents and other forms of intellectual information. property. We’ll also cover some recent examples of these efforts, based on The Quantum Insider Market Intelligence Platform.

Examples of quantum patents from IBM

Here are some of the most recent and relevant patents found on The Quantum Insider’s market intelligence platform that may require quantum science or directly impact quantum computing. Descriptions of inventions based on applicants’ summaries.

Mounting a chip to a substrate

This patent describes a method for bonding a semiconductor chip to an organic laminate substrate. At a specific junction temperature, solder is used to connect the chip to the substrate. Without allowing the assembly to cool, a lower filler is distributed between the chip and the substrate, followed by curing at a higher temperature. Another detailed method involves applying solder to the substrate pads and chip pillars, allowing bonding by direct contact.

Synchronization of physical and virtual environments using quantum entanglement

IBM scientists wrote this patent to cover a technique for connecting physical and virtual environments using quantum entanglement. Captures video of a physical object and detects a feature in the footage. A first qubit is encoded based on the feature value, and then entangled with a second qubit, forming a pair of qubits. The quantum state of the second qubit informs the representation of a virtual object corresponding to the physical one, creating a synchronized virtual environment.

Intense pulsed tones for collision mitigation

This patent presents techniques for mitigating cross-resonant collisions in qubits using Stark tone pulses. A tone management component manages the application of pulses by a tone generator to avoid frequency collisions. The tone generator can apply an off-resonant tone pulse to a qubit, inducing a Stark shift, and a cross-resonant tone pulse to a control qubit, which can also affect its frequency. The patent also describes several types of gates, including cross-resonant, two-qubit, and gauge gates, which can use echo sequences or other techniques.

Cryogenic filter modules for scalable quantum computing architectures

This patent describes systems, devices and methods for signal filters in scalable quantum computing architectures. The device includes a multi-layered circuit board, with each layer made of different absorbent materials and signal lines passing through it. A layer can filter the signals that pass through it, ensuring the smooth operation of each line.

Coupling of data quantum bits with auxiliary quantum bits

This patent describes a device that includes a data qubit, first and second qubit couplers, and an auxiliary qubit. The first coupler connects to the data qubit and the second coupler connects to the first and the auxiliary qubit. Couplers can suppress or enable interactions between data and auxiliary qubits, allowing them to be entangled for various quantum computing operations.

Examples of IBM quantum patents that use or reference IBM

In the following granted patent applications, we find that IBM either refers to the prior art or relied on the IBM Quantum team as part of the process of creating the invention.

Compiler for quantum processors

This patent describes a computer system and method for compiling programs to run on quantum processors with multiple qubits or audits. The system includes a compiler with four modules: a unified-level module that refactors code written in a unified language and turns it into first code, a high-level module that compiles this first code into second code that supports loops, subroutines and flow. control, a low-level module that converts the second code into a third code containing quantum gate operations, and a gate-level module that converts the third code into a fourth code expressed in a quantum gate-level language, following the target quantum processor. set of instructions and restrictions.

The IBM patent is referenced in the above art.

Semiquantum secure multipartite summation method

This patented invention introduces a semi-quantum security method for multipart summation, using high-dimensional entangled states and single states. A quantum server prepares an entangled state and applies a quantum Fourier transform to each particle, combining them with a sequence of unique states sent to classical users. Users measure and send the particles back or return them directly, allowing the server to perform specific measurements after the operation. This process verifies the presence of eavesdroppers and the integrity of the server, establishing a key so that users can encrypt their data sent to the server. Finally, the server aggregates this data to produce and publish a sum, enhancing the secure calculations of multiple parties.

The application specifically mentions IBM Qiskit, which can be used to simulate quantum states and measurements.

BLAST Acceleration Method and System for Quantum Technology-Based Gene Search

A new invention introduces an accelerated BLAST method of gene searching and a system that takes advantage of quantum technology to improve the classic BLAST algorithm. The method is divided into three parts: the first part uses quantum computing to reduce the time complexity of BLAST, breaking computational bottlenecks. The second part simplifies the quantum circuit used in the acceleration process, reducing both the temporal and spatial complexity of these circuits. The third part provides a simple quantum wire mapping scheme for implementation in physical quantum computers. The method significantly improves the efficiency of the BLAST algorithm and reduces the spatial complexity of the corresponding quantum circuits.

Robot Path Planning Method Adopting Quantum Clustering Based on Quantum Ant Colony Algorithm

A new invention introduces an advanced method for robot path planning that uses quantum clustering combined with a quantum ant colony algorithm to address large-scale path planning challenges. This method breaks down a large-scale route planning problem into smaller, more manageable components. It assesses whether available quantum computing resources can handle these smaller problems; if not, it breaks them down further until they align with current computational capacity. Once the small-scale problems are within the processing capacity, the quantum ant colony algorithm is used to solve them individually. The solutions are then aggregated to obtain an optimal path for the original large-scale problem, significantly improving the feasibility of large-scale path planning with quantum technology.

The future of IBM’s IP legacy

Since its inception, IBM has been a giant creator of inventions. Some wonder how long this domain will last.

Several media sources recently reported that IBM overhauled its long-standing rewards program for inventors, causing frustration among some employees who feel they are missing out on bonuses.

The company has discontinued its “Invention Achievement Award Plan,” which incentivized employees to file patents and publish articles with points that could be redeemed for cash rewards.

Under the old system, employees received points for successful disclosures, publications and patent filings, with significant bonuses awarded once they accumulated 12 points, according to a report by The Register.

The paper reported that the elimination of this program also nullifies unredeemed points, effectively erasing a financial liability for IBM and preventing those points from being converted into cash prizes.

It remains to be seen what effect this will have on overall patent output at IBM, and specifically whether it will disrupt IBM’s growing collection of quantum-related patents.

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