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back to article Gates' patent legacy turns heat on IBM

IBM has long placed a premium on patents - such a premium, its engineers are expected to routinely create and file patents to prove the company's technical leadership to the world. Such is the expectation and the size of IBM's brains trust that each year for nearly a decade, IBM has been awarded more patents in the US than any …

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Software patents

I'm a supporter of the idea of patents.

But not for Software (copyright is sufficient).

Not for Services.

Basically for a working Machine.

Also broad patents should be be invalid. Patents should outline a specific implementation.

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Anonymous Coward

IBM is a business

They will invest in FOSS where they see an advantage to themselves, likewise with IP, lawsuits, whatever else.

They're no hip young Google, they're a weathered, war-torn old dog that knows the game inside and out. They'll use their patent portfolio in any way they see fit, the greatest advantage to them being that it guards their rather deep pockets against competitors. Suing IBM over IP is an exercise in MAD at the very very best.

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slow down

Time to think about the types of patent, folks. Microsoft's are all for software and the U.S. Supreme Court (and others) have put serious crimps on pure-software patents. I can't imagine that MS will be able to get a further patent on binary (yes - they have one).

IBM does a lot more with "stuff". Things you can touch and pick up.

So put this on hold for twelve months and then revise it - I think you'll find the trend to be quite different.

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Stuff?

Nice apology for IBM, there. The fact is that IBM are in favour of software patents as long as the ridiculous notion of a "quality threshold" is applied, thus excluding its competitors' patents but not their own super-valuable patents, naturally.

This might be news to all the people who think IBM is all lovely about open source, and even to those who thought it was great that amongst the stuff thrown at SCO during their dispute with IBM were a bunch of patents (probably explained away as "defensive patents", even though it wasn't a patent suit to begin with), but the rest of us who care about open source are under no such illusions.

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Anonymous Coward

Hardware or Software US / Non US

I know both patent software, which many think is questionable, but what's the ratio of real hard patents to soft patents.

I feel that IBM may have some "harder" patents, but who knows, when you are in a numbers race I'm sure the number of "soft / poor" patents is higher.

So measure and compare, but how much is the questionable stuff.

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Just another currency

in the same way as debt is bundled into junk bonds, or just plain openly traded.

How much value then, is a patent good for, and why don't these companies, if they see these patent/currencies as just a trading tool, bundle them up and flog them on the open market in exactly the same way as motgages are. That seems to be a sure fire way to gain income from them, rather a continual litigous fiasco that see little benefit for anyone, except the $1000/hr lawyers.

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Quality of patents?

If they measured them by peer review it might hold some water. This looks more a measure of potential profitability and that has never been the same as quality.

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Gates Horns

The stupid, it hurts.

B-52 delivered bombs are not weapons but a a currency that you use to trade to another nation for its market access rights.

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Joke

I've heard

that apple will beat them all, they are going to patent the patent process.....

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Dismissed but not proven and reputably refuted

"IBM dismissed Ocean Tomo's conclusion, saying the ultimate value is "not some rating" but "the leverage we are able to get from the patent [licensing] negotiations."

Also known as a Pirates' Ransom akin to a Spooky Terrorists' Fee, which is not the same as, nor anywhere near as Good as, Much Smarter Danegeld Reward.

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But, Microsoft didn't hire...

...an ex-IBM specialist of patent some years ago ?

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Patent, schmatent

A colleague and I were involved in setting up a pretty nifty calculation engine for an ex-employer of mine (a recently defunct ERP vendor). At the end of a lot of sweat it worked brilliantly, so much so that we were asked to submit a patent. At which I expressed a distinct lack of interest - most of our inspiration was good old fashioned software design, lots of iterations, with a fair dash of I've-seen-this-before as smart software practice. My colleague went along, more out of duty than anything else and we may have ended up with a patent.

I don't mind patents, including possibly software patents, but I really could not see anything we did that was justified "defending our rights" after having gotten ideas from the mainstream programming community at large. 4K/yr patents of "original thinking"? Yeah, right.

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