IBM drops attempt to patent outsourcing
IBM has abandoned a ludicrous attempt to patent outsourcing after an internet outcry.
Big Blue submitted this highly original invention to the US Patent office in January 2006. Its principal claim was for "a method for identifying human-resource work content to outsource offshore of an organisation".
The application was noticed at the weekend by Slashdotters, who lambasted the move by the world's most prolific patenter.
IBM's open source and standards veep Bob Sutor posted this sheepish company statement on his blog last night:
Here's why we are withdrawing it - IBM adopted a new policy a year ago to sharply reduce business method patent filings and instead stress significant technical content in its patents.
Even though the patent application in question was filed eight months before the policy took effect in September, 2006, had the policy been in place at the time, IBM would not have filed the application. We're glad the community pointed this application out so IBM could take swift action.
As we've noted recently, the US patent system is subject of a fierce debate as a reform bill wends its way through Congress. The main thrust of the reform is to cut down on frivolous patents. It's backed by big IT lobby group the Business Software Alliance, whose members include, er, IBM.
So fear not, Indian call centre workers, even though having a call centre in India might have been IBM's idea, it's benevolent enough to let you keep putting your electrical engineering PhD to good use. ®
Just a thought ---
Could not outsourcing be considered a form of colonization practiced by corporations rather than countries? In particular, the "captive" offshore development efforts remind me very much of a colony whose sole purpose is to return a low cost service to the parent that can then be effectively resold at a greater profit than would otherwise be the case. I should think that the UK and the US would be very familiar with this model. In my opinion, the real culprits behind this popular method of increasing profits are stockholders who think they are entitled to a 20% return on their investment every year.
I don't think means anything
The guy at the top is a troll and this story is about corporate almost stupidity what are you going to say when someone actually does something dumb.
I get it, you develop software to decode human voices, put them in text to remote workers who help you remoteley.
Why dont we just have text recognition software and 'predictive answers' why waste money on people, on or off shore?
A carbon form-less automated self helping help desk?
And yes it a technical patent....