Microsoft recently rolled past the 10,000 patent mark, reports Ina Fried at CNet, saying that the lucky #10K covered natural interfaces, linking "a real-world object with a set of data or images." Is 10,000 patents—well, 10,541 at last count—that good? Well, according to our snappy research, it's way better than Apple, with 2,541 to date, but it's a far cry from IBM, with 53,413. Fried reports that the US Patent Office issued IBM 4,000 of those little licenses to print money just last year. Go Big Blue! [CNet, IBM Patents at USPTO, Apple Patents at USPTO, Microsoft Patents at USPTO]