Bank of America inventors filed 722 patent applications with the United States Patent Office last year, the most in the company’s history. This record came while 85% of the company’s workforce was working from home due to the coronavirus. Separately, the bank was granted 444 patents in 2020, also a company record, during a period when U.S. patents granted overall were down 1%.
These milestones reinforce the culture of innovation at Bank of America, which ranked #108 on the recently released Intellectual Property Owners Association’s annual list of organizations. In achieving its highest ranking yet, the bank remained one of the top financial services institutions on the list and is in the top 15 of all holders of U.S. banking-related patents and applications.
“Bank of America clients benefit every day from our focus on innovation,” said Chief Operations and Technology Officer Cathy Bessant. “Continuing to build our patent portfolio is one way that we measure our success. Invention happens across our company at an ever-increasing pace, and our 2020 patent performance set records for our firm. Hats off to our teams for their creativity and brilliance.”
At Bank of America, diversity of thought is embraced because innovation is everyone’s job. Inventors bring their varied backgrounds and experiences to the patent process, are aligned throughout many of the bank’s eight lines of business and span generations, from millennials to boomers.
“Being a bank inventor has been a highlight of my professional career,” said Jinna Kim, Consumer Products Strategic analyst and an employee who exemplifies the next wave of the bank’s inventors. “It doesn’t matter that my patents are outside of my day-to-day responsibilities; if you have a good idea, you can bring it forward at Bank of America. In just a couple years, I’ve co-filed several patents on wide-ranging topics, from frictionless banking to cognitive automation, to open banking and information security.”
Some key themes of patents the bank applied for in 2020 include:
Bank of America leads the industry in patents focused on authentication, such as multifactor authentication. The bank is also a leader in patents related to ATMs and call centers, as well as more general technology areas such as data mining, and programming technology, which focuses on productivity tools, testing tools and database management innovations.
The bank’s total patent portfolio consists of 724 issued and pending applications for information security, with focuses on detecting events, analyzing vulnerability, evaluating computer system security, managing network security and controlling access to network resources. Bank of America also has 502 issued patents for online and mobile banking. They include several for the company’s AI-driven, award-winning virtual assistant Erica, including one patent that uses machine learning to decipher clients’ natural language requests and extract intents to provide meaningful and actionable insights.
Bank of America’s portfolio consists of more than 4,400 patents and applications, and mirrors the bank’s recognition of diversity and the importance of teamwork in innovation. Represented in the patent process are 5,700 inventors from 42 states and 12 countries, with 26% of inventors being women, more than double the global average.
Life Plan, an opt in digital experience, enables clients to set and track near- and long-term goals based on their priorities. This predictive AI system offers optimized resources and goal guidance for clients based on their preference and activity trends.
An articificial intelligence, error prevention and recommendation system designed to assist client service representatives to gather client information and assistn them with their financial goals.
Leveraging associated (or computational) command dialogue, the bank's AI-powered virtual assistant, Erica, is able to have human-like conversations during client interactions.
Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 66 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 4,300 retail financial centers, including approximately 2,700 lending centers, 2,600 financial centers with a Consumer Investment Financial Solutions Advisor and approximately 2,400 business centers; approximately 17,000 ATMs; and award-winning digital banking with approximately 39 million active users, including approximately 31 million mobile users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business households through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and approximately 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
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Mark T. Pipitone, Bank of America