2,600 patents in 2022: The numbers behind 3M’s continuing innovation
Mar 21, 2023
Headshot of Audrey Sherman at 3M global headquarters.

At 3M, patents represent more than ownership of an idea or design. They demonstrate 3M’s ability to continually innovate, find new solutions and encourage creative collaboration.  

“It’s very important for the company to keep inventing and reinventing,” said Audrey Sherman, division scientist and holder of 156 patents at 3M.  

Audrey began her career at 3M as an intern while still in high school and got her first patent after being at the company for five years. At that time, she asked her boss how many patents she should aim to earn per year. He told her that a good pace was one patent per year. “All I could think of was, I am so far behind because I’ve been here for five years,” she said. Audrey was determined to catch up. And she did – averaging nearly five patents per year over the next 26 years. 

In 2017, Audrey became the first women at 3M to reach the 100-patent mark

In 2019, when she had 130 patents to her name, Audrey’s accomplishments were recognized in a final clue on the game show Jeopardy.

Discover the numbers behind the patents and the progress 3M made in 2022

A lightbulb icon with the text, “131,651: total all-time patents.” A calendar icon with the text, “3,931: average number of patents granted per year.” A star icon with the text, 2,600: patents awarded in 2022.” An hourglass icon with the text, “33: months average time to receive a patent.” An icon of two people and a lightbulb with the text, “2.8: average number of inventors per patent.” An icon of three people and a lightbulb with the text, “26: most inventors on a single patent.”


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