Brunswick Corp says it doubled the number of patents it received in 2016 compared to the previous year. The 73 patents it was granted last year is nearly a record in its 175 years in business. The company spent US$139m on research and development costs, or about 3% of its 2016 sales.

"2016 was another prolific year for the company in all of our segments – marine engine, pleasure boats and fitness," says chief technology officer David Foulkes in a statement.

Nearly 60 patents were awarded to its Mercury Marine Division. "Consistent with our dedication to product leadership, we have sustained the pace of innovation both in product features and capabilities as well as operational process improvements," adds Foulkes. “These efforts have reinforced our leadership position in our marine and fitness businesses."

Mercury obtained 11 patents relating to handling emissions and exhaust. It also secured 12 patents relating to its control systems. The patents range from designs of the joystick control and display, to improving the lateral movement of boat with various power configurations. Six patent issues were issued for consumer comfort technology, including reduced noise and vibration of the engine. Mercury obtained seven patents on developments aimed at servicing and maintaining engines.

The Brunswick Boat Group gained a newly issued patent protecting the hull design of the Bayliner Element boat for a hull that acts more like a pontoon. Sea Ray secured a patent on its popular rear lounge seat on its well-received SLX model.

Its Fitness division reeived patents for its Cybex and Indoor Cycling Group businesses as well as three patents covering its InMovement Products.