Although I'd like to see what those patents actually are, but I do think this is interesting and good thing to see. They're not the first to take this strategy. I recall Intel doing something similar, pooling patents around development using their chips so that developers could more easily create software without bumping into each other. I think I remember that those were not Intel's patents, but the patents of the developers. ;-) But the strategy is similar. Companies fight for intellectual property protection for self-interest arguing that without it, people will not innovate. On the other hand, many platform providers know that patents often encumber innovation. With software patents in particular, I believe that they stifle innovation more than they create incentives, especially for small companies. It's nice to see patent giants like IBM taking steps like this.Ross Mayfield's WeblogIBM Opens the Patent Market
Steve Lohr reports that IBM is open sourcing 500 patents.John Kelly, the senior vice president for technology and intellectual property, called the patent contribution "the beginning of a new era in
how I.B.M. will manage intellectual property."
Perhaps for more than just IBM -- competitors may have to follow, um, suit. While 500 patents is a drop in the bucket for the largest portfolio (40k), this is a significant move and part of a broader strategy to commoditize their inputs, pool risk, leverage a lead in services and change the game."This is exciting," said Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Stanford Law School and founder of the school's Center for Internet and Society. "It is I.B.M. making good on its commitment to encourage a different kind of software development and recognizing the burden that patents can impose."Amazing things happen when self interest is in group interest.
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