Feeds

IBM beats patents record

Do as we say, not as we do

Boost IT visibility and business value

IBM surpassed itself by winning more patents last year than anyone else. Announcing the record haul, it called today for "sensible" patent reform.

The computer giant is to host an online initiative that encourages "smaller" - i.e. just about everyone else on the planet - enterprises to debate efforts to help improve the quality of patents.

IBM said the Inventors' Forum consolidates the Community Patent Review and Open Source as Prior Art initiatives it launched 12 months ago to tighten up on patents, by making it easier to search prior art and clean up wording of patents.

IBM's backing come at a time of debate over the value of patents. Increasingly, patents are seen as either an exercise in corporate egotism or a means for lawyers to make money and for large companies to keep small companies down using patent violation suits.

In 2006, IBM filed 3,651 US patents, beating its closest rival Samsung Electronics on 2,453, to take the top slot for the fourteenth consecutive year in a row.

Certainly for IBM, patents are a way for individuals progress up the corporate ladder. Engineers and fellows collect patents to help improve their career prospects, through things like better salary and position.

However, a Booz Allen Hamilton survey of 1000 global companies released this week found zero correlation between billions of dollars pumped into R&D and patents by big companies and those companies' actual financial performance. Despite being one of the industry's top spenders on R&D, IBM failed to make Booz Allen's list of top innovators.

The US Supreme Court, meanwhile, will next month debate the very need for patents. A Software Freedom Law Center amicus brief filed in a Microsoft v AT&T case has asked America's highest court to invalidate all software patents. The case is due to be heard on February 21.®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows
Behold the Internet of Things. Wintel Things
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Time to move away from Windows 7 ... whoa, whoa, who said anything about Windows 8?
Start migrating now to avoid another XPocalypse – Gartner
You'll find Yoda at the back of every IT conference
The piss always taking is he. Bastard the.
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.