Bank of America Set a Company Record for Patents Granted In the First Half of 2021. One Big Reason? Addison’s Manu Kurian.

Bank of America had a company-record 227 patents granted during the first half of 2021. One of its biggest inventors? Addison-based Global Banking SVP Manu Kurian, who ranks in the top 300 patent holders on earth. He's filed more than 360 patents since 2014, with more than 240 of those having been granted.

Quick question: How many patents have you filed since 2014? If you’re like most people, your answer is a big fat zero. But even if you’re an esteemed inventor, your number is probably smaller than Manu Kurian’s. 

Kurian, an Addison-based SVP of global banking for Bank of America, ranks in the top 300 patent holders on earth, filing more than 360 patents since 2014, with more than 240 of those having been granted. Manu recently filed patent applications for technology that enables authentication and data access capabilities for the bank.

He’s just one reason Bank of America set a company record for patents granted in the first half of 2021. The U.S. Patent Office granted the bank 227 patents in that time frame, a 23 percent increase over last year. The patents covered a range of client solutions including AI, machine learning, data analytics, information security, mobile banking, and payments.

The bank says it also applied for 403 patents, despite 85 percent of its workforce working remotely during the pandemic. Bank of America ranks 108th on the IPO Top 300 list of U.S. granted patents—its highest ranking ever.

“A strong focus on innovation”

“We’re in a period of unprecedented change, and as any great company knows, delivering for customers and clients requires a strong focus on innovation,” said Cathy Bessant, Bank of America’s chief operations and technology officer, in a statement. “The culture we’ve created at Bank of America is immensely creative and forward looking, driving solutions that make our clients’ financial lives better.”

Bank of America’s patent portfolio consists of 4,943 patents granted or applied for, resulting from the work of nearly 6,000 inventors based in 42 U.S. states and 13 countries around the world, the bank says.

What’s going on in Addison?

A lot of tinkering by Manu Kurian, for one thing.

“My primary responsibilities are on mobile data,” Kurian said in the statement. “The bank really values the way we handle our data. And so part of that is also being able to move that data efficiently between our different systems so that we have that opportunity to serve our clients.”

Kurian told Dallas Innovates that Bank of America’s approach to innovation is “very forward thinking”—which means the tools and technology being leveraged today were ideated years ago, long before they were needed.

“What I’m working on today will lay the foundation for future technological innovations, ultimately helping Bank of America deliver for our clients and streamline processes for our employees,” he told us.

Kurian’s granted patents cover multiple fields focused on new, disruptive, emerging and transformational services relating to data, payments, security, AI/ML, and other technologies.

Natural language processing tagging

One example of Kurian’s granted patents—which included cross-team collaboration—is one that supports dynamic natural language processing tagging. 

“This process leverages an artificial intelligence engine to receive and tag audio files, and identifies concepts via context identifiers to process voice requests,” Kurian said. 

Mobile data is Kurian’s key focus for big reasons

Since so many of us do our banking on our phones and tablets from sofas to cars to coffee shops, innovation is constantly needed to keep banks ahead of the curve.

“Data channeling and integration relies on the ability to securely move data between varying systems with efficiency and reliability,” Kurian said. “The bank’s innovative technologies focus on how it deals with data variety, value, velocity, veracity and volume in our ecosystem. This value add ensures high levels of service availability for our clients, customers and partners.”

On Dallas as a growing tech hub

Is there something about the Dallas area that makes it ground zero for Kurian’s inventions?

“Dallas is a rapidly growing and recognized tech hub,” Kurian said. “As such, Bank of America has expanded its technology footprint in the region and continues to invest in our Dallas Technology Center. The center brings together a highly diverse set of teammates representing the numerous bank’s business and technology teams.”

Kurian says this  non-siloed approach allows employees to collaborate in expanded workgroups, strengthening the bank’s ability to collaborate and innovate. 

What he’s working on now

“My immediate and extended teams are working on technologies that focus on data, payments, security and AI/ML, to name a few,” Kurian told us. “A number of our patents focus on data channeling, leveraging AI/ML, and increasing the integration between critical and varying systems. We have other patents focused on innovative payments ability while continuing to fulfill our risk framework standards.”

We were going to ask him if he likes dogs and if he’s looking forward to the Dallas Cowboys kickoff next week. But we got the sense that Kurian was eager to get back to something patent-worthy. So we left him to his data channeling and went about our business—with, by the way, not a patent to our name.

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