2,600 Patents in 2022: The Numbers Behind 3M’s Continuing Innovation

Mar 22, 2023 9:00 AM ET

Originally published on 3M News Center

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.