IBM consistently is one of the more aggressive companies in applying for patents (and, at times, enforcing those patents). However, in the last few years, the company has started realizing just how much patents can harm
innovation -- and the company has been trying to work on ways to improve
patent quality (though, it still gets involved in some questionable
patent lawsuits). Over the weekend, however, the company got quite a bit of attention after Slashdot posted about a recent IBM patent application that appeared to cover figuring out how to best offshore workers
. It was the type of thing that sounded so absurd that lots of other sites and the press picked up on it... leading IBM to apologize withdraw the patent application
, put the "process" into the public domain and saying that with its new processes, it wouldn't have applied for that patent at all. This is a nice surprise, as you could see most companies simply trying to defend whatever ridiculous patent they had applied for.