Discussions

News: IBM frees 500 software patents

  1. IBM frees 500 software patents (21 messages)

    IBM says 500 of its software patents will be released into the open development community. The patents include software for a range of practices, including text recognition and database management.
    In a statement, Dr John E. Kelly, IBM senior vice president, Technology and Intellectual Property, said: "True innovation leadership is about more than just the numbers of patents granted. It's about innovating to benefit customers, partners and society.

    "Our pledge today is the beginning of a new era in how IBM will manage intellectual property."

    Not everyone is supportive. Some patent lawyers have came out to say that this is a diversionary tactic.
    Florian Mueller, campaign manager of a group lobbying to prevent software patents becoming legal in the European Union, dismissed IBM's move as insubstantial.

    "It's just diversionary tactics," wrote Mr Mueller, who leads nosoftwarepatents.com, in a message on the group's website.

    "Let's put this into perspective: We're talking about roughly one percent of IBM's worldwide patent portfolio. They file that number of patents in about a month's time," he added.

    The move means developers will be able to use the technologies without paying for a licence from the company.

    IBM described the step as a "new era" in how it dealt with intellectual property and promised further patents would be made freely available.

    Read more: IBM frees 500 software patents

    Threaded Messages (21)

  2. Anyone care to guess how much they're gonna write off? I hope other companies follow the lead and contribute patents for big write-offs.
  3. how much is IBM gonna write off for this?[ Go to top ]

    So the federal deficit can keep skyrocketing and the U.S. economy can keep tanking ;).
  4. economy tanking???[ Go to top ]

    So the federal deficit can keep skyrocketing
    > and the U.S. economy can keep tanking ;).

    I'm not sure how IBM's contribution of patents effects the deficit or economy one way or the other, but the notion that our economy is tanking is at odds with every measure of the US economy for well over a year. GDP grew at more than a 3% annual rate last year -- there was a net increase in jobs.

    See latest report from Bureau of Economic Analysis (a part of the Dept. of Commerce) issued Dec 24, 2004:
    http://www.bea.gov/bea/newsrel/gdpnewsrelease.htm
  5. economy tanking???[ Go to top ]

    Depends on your perspective - http://www.jobwatch.org/.
  6. They can't write it off; they're not donating anything to a qualified charity.
  7. they could create a non-profit charity[ Go to top ]

    I'm sure they can find an easy way around that :)
  8. They can't write it off; they're not donating anything to a qualified charity.

    Actually, they can donate to qualified non-profits like Eclipse or Apache which they have done in the past. They should get a tax break if they donate something of value.

    We'll have to wait to see if these patents are of any value. My guess is that there will be a few gems among a bunch of rocks.
  9. IBM frees 500 software patents[ Go to top ]

    They are trying to make out that software patents aren't a bad thing by being generous, it's like western goverments giving aid to poor countries while destroying them with crippling dept and protectionist trade laws.

    (sigh)

    If they announced that they wanted to end software patents then that would be a good thing.

    What next, animal-testing companies donating to the RSPCA (that's an English animal charity)?!?!

    Isn't it funny that patents were always thought of as away to protect the small inventor from big businesses (although that's arguable in reality) but here we have a complete inversion with software patents.

    I'm waiting to find out next that AT&T actually hold a patent on the addition of one to a number using an incremental operator.

    Does anyone who reads serverside actually think this was a good idea?
  10. IBM frees 500 software patents[ Go to top ]

    When I was investigating raising VC (in Cambridge, UK) for a Software product I had developed no VC firm was interested unless the software was patentable.

    So if it is being driven by the money people what chance have do we have?
  11. IBM frees 500 software patents[ Go to top ]

    Of course the difference here is the patent they wanted you to have was to protect the development of your product.

    I would imagine the patent on your product would have been quite legitimate rather than a patent on hyperlinks, XML or any of the other ridiculous patent weapons around.

    The trouble is where do you draw a line, what is product and what is a concept? And how do you protect small companies from the big predators?
  12. IBM frees 500 software patents[ Go to top ]

    I'd have to agree the patent system as it isn't working too well, but I don't think getting rid of all patents is the right solution either. there has to be a sane solution in the middle where the little guy can patent a novel invention and make some money. reducing the duration of the patent and increasing the cost for corporate filings might help make it better, but I'm no lawyer.

    Arguably software don't need patents, copyright law adds sufficient protection.

    Visit <link>www.nosoftwarepatents.com</link> for swpatent opponents stance. They make a pretty strong case if you ask me.
  13. You are asking IBM to be stupid[ Go to top ]

    I'm not a fan of software patents, but, until there is some blatant, in-your-face evidence of the harm software patents do to the U.S. economy. They will not go away.

    Get used to it.

    IBM is working within the system to play as nice as possible with the open source community. Besides opening the 500 patents, they also have claimed they will use their patent portfolio to defend open source projects from future patent litigation.

    Now, whether they do it or not is a whole other matter, I agree, but at least the offer is there.

    Not that I think IBM is being altruistic either. Their embrace of open source has obviously been for the benefit of IBM's bottom line.

    Still, IBM deserves a collective "Thank You". Just as IBM should thank the open source projects it makes use of.
  14. IBM frees 500 software patents[ Go to top ]

    I'm not a fan of software patents, but, until there is some blatant, in-your-face evidence of the harm software patents do to the U.S. economy. They will not go away.

    At the moment lobbyists are trying to introduce swpats in EU. If Florian et al succeeds in preventing this, it may become evident to USA that swpats only benefit patent lawyers.
    IBM is working within the system to play as nice as possible with the open source community. Besides opening the 500 patents, they also have claimed they will use their patent portfolio to defend open source projects from future patent litigation.

    Thats all very well, but others than open source community are also threatened by the risk of patent litigation. SME's can not afford lawsuits which means patent racketeers and titans like IBM and M$, can extort licencing fees as they please.
    Still, IBM deserves a collective "Thank You".
    <tinfoilhat>Sorta depends whether they are doing this to weaken the case against swpats in EU.</tinfoilhat>
  15. Stupid or not, it must be done[ Go to top ]

    I'm not a fan of software patents, but, until there is some blatant, in-your-face evidence of the harm software patents do to the U.S. economy. They will not go away.

    I'm sorry, but I have to say: By the time that happens, it will be too late. By the time there is clear evidence of the problem, it will have already caused immeasurable damage.

    There is one purpose, and one purpose only, to intellectual property laws: To foster competitive innovation for the good of society. Any other 'reason' like 'protecting the little guy', or to 'provide a temporary monopoly to reward inventors', these are all a means to an end, they are not the end themselves. The end is innovation, period.

    Who's winning biggest out of all this patent nonsense? Lawyers. That's your smoking gun right there. This is not about innovation to IBM, it's about money. No doubt, they scoured their database for the patents that provided the least revenue for the cost involved to maintain, and ditched those ones only.

    Copyright is working fine. Software doesn't need or warrant patents.
  16. I completely agree with Florian Mueller's statement quoted above. We should keep in mind that this whole patenting business is more than questionable.
    IMO no one should be able to gain a (temporary) monopoly on a technology that cannot be proven to be the result of extensive, directed research.

    christian
  17. Indeed this was encapsulated in the fact you can't patent an idea/concept. However since ideas/concepts can so quickly be manifested in software they're managing to do this by the backdoor.
  18. Hmm[ Go to top ]

    I agree with some of the sceptical comments here but the fact that they have opened up 500 of their patents is not a bad thing I think we can agree.

    Now if we can only get them to do the same with the other 35,000 patents that they are holding ...
  19. the US government might end up owing IBM money :)

    I'd have to agree the patent system as it isn't working too well, but I don't think getting rid of all patents is the right solution either. there has to be a sane solution in the middle where the little guy can patent a novel invention and make some money. reducing the duration of the patent and increasing the cost for corporate filings might help make it better, but I'm no lawyer.
  20. Some questions[ Go to top ]

    There is any value in this patents?
       * Anyone know any of this patents?
       * How much ($) is leaving from IBM pocket with this
         freedom?
       * How much ($) IBM receive for each patent per year?
  21. A drop in the bucket[ Go to top ]

    IBM has been acquiring patents for over 3 decades now and they have a huge database of patents. Up until the patent office created their own online database, IBM was the best place to research patents. These days, you can search IBM's patent database for a fee, which I believe is still more complete than the patent office.

    I really doubt IBM is loosing money in this deal. There's a joke about IBM having an army of patent lawyers, but I forget how it goes.
  22. A drop in the bucket[ Go to top ]

    There's a joke about IBM having an army of patent lawyers, but I forget how it goes.

    Actually I read a story about patent war between IBM and Sun. And there were anecdotical situation.
    When IBM lawyers came to Sun offfice with their claims (i think about 10 patents violated), Sun representative proved them that in all 10 cases there were wrong.
    IBM lawyers answered "You want us go back and find another 10 patents you are violating ?" Sun preferred to pay :)))