15 January 2009

IBM the Schizophrenic

Bad IBM:


IBM today announced that it earned 4,186 U.S. patents in 2008, becoming the first company ever to earn more than 4,000 U.S. patents in a single year. IBM's 2008 patent issuances are nearly triple Hewlett-Packard's and exceed the issuances of Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, Apple, EMC, Accenture and Google -- combined.

Good IBM:

IBM used the occasion to announce plans to help stimulate innovation and economic growth. The company plans to increase by 50% -- to more than 3,000 -- the number of technical inventions it publishes annually instead of seeking patent protection. This will make these inventions freely available to others.

Er, could we perhaps make up our minds about intellectual monopolies? Either you're in favour - and want more or them - or against - and want less. You know, the old binary thing. Is it that hard?

4 comments:

Perry said...

I don't think it's necessarily schizoid. Probably the best way to avoid a patent suit later is to patent it first. Yes, there's a lot involved in patenting something, but it's still much cheaper than having to fight and potentially lose a suit over something you invented.

Just as copyright doesn't mean you MUST prevent people from using your material, patenting something doesn't mean that you MUST charge people to use your patent.

glyn moody said...

You don't have to patent it: just stick it visibly in the public domain to create prior art...

Perry said...

Yes, but having a previous patent removes any doubt in a patent trial.

glyn moody said...

Maybe, but you get fewer brownie points....