Research and development (R&D) activity has become more expensive. In the literature, researchers have confirmed a correlation between a rise in the number of patents granted to large enterprises in the long term and increasing R&D expenditures. It can be assumed that patent activities are also more expensive. The objective of this article is to verify the following hypothesis: the number of granted patents can grow by increasing the efficiency of R&D expenditure management, while maintaining this spending amount at the same level over the long term. The research covers empirical data for the period 1997–2015. The hypothesis was confirmed for IBM, the uninterrupted leader for over 25 years in the number of patents obtained from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It has not been confirmed for Samsung and Canon, the second and third ranking companies in terms of the number of patents obtained from the USPTO. The results in this research do not confirm the conclusions that are presented in the literature. The answer for the simple hypothesis of this article is not obvious. Based on the IBM example, it was found that increasing the efficiency of R&D expenditures – while maintaining R&D expenditure at the same level – is a key factor in the success of the management of R&D within information and communication technologies (ICT) enterprises.