IBM Trying To Get Patent On Patent Extortion?

from the recursive-patent-abuse dept

Have fun with this one. As seen on Slashdot and sent in by a few different readers, it appears that IBM is trying to patent the process of using a large patent portfolio for patent extortion. Technically, the patent is for "A system and method for extracting value from a portfolio of assets." Of course, if any company can claim credit for such a thing, it's IBM. After all, there's the famous story of IBM demanding patent licensing dollars from Sun. They accused Sun of patent infringement, but when Sun engineers and lawyers pointed out how they didn't infringe on the patents in question, IBM's lawyers responded: "OK, maybe you don't infringe these seven patents. But we have 10,000 U.S. patents. Do you really want us to go back to Armonk [IBM headquarters in New York] and find seven patents you do infringe? Or do you want to make this easy and just pay us $20 million?" Nice to see they're now patenting that process. One could hope that IBM is hoping to get this patent either to prevent others from doing the same thing or (maybe?) to show just how ridiculous the patent system has become. Either way, it's still only an application, so perhaps a patent examiner will realize that there's a bit of prior art around this particular concept.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Oct 22nd, 2007 @ 4:50pm

    What's Next???

    If Mike is right about this being a possible benevolent application on IBM's part trying to dial down the patent insanity here in the US, then I would expect another filing shortly for "A system and method for obfuscting patent application language and clarity improving patent award rates and post-award patent litigation value".

    Reading patents is about as much fun as reading "Mein Kampf".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    John, Oct 22nd, 2007 @ 5:02pm

    STOP!!! THATS MY IDEA!

    I POSTED A COMMENT A MONTH AGO SAYING THAT I WANT TO PATENT PATENT HOARDING!

    I am so suing the fuckers!

     

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  3.  
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    zcat, Oct 22nd, 2007 @ 5:11pm

    Does the mention of 'Mein Kampf' invoke Godwin's law? First post just seems a little early..

     

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  4.  
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    michael, Oct 22nd, 2007 @ 5:58pm

    Yeah, I was literally thinking of this an hour ago. a patent on patent trolling. Ingenious, really. All those stupid patent companies....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Oct 22nd, 2007 @ 6:11pm

    Re: Godwin's law...

    Thanks for bringing that up. Oddly, I had not encountered references to Godwin's law before.

    I tried reading Mein Kampf in high school, but in spite of my rabid facination for anything regarding WWII history, I found it so insufferably dull and long winded, I could not make myself finish it.

     

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  6.  
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    Paul, Oct 22nd, 2007 @ 6:19pm

    Re: STOP!!! THATS MY IDEA!

    DITTO!

    Want to start a class action against IBM?

     

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  7.  
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    John, Oct 22nd, 2007 @ 6:43pm

    Re: STOP!!! THATS MY IDEA!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2007 @ 7:52pm

    Doubtful

    ...perhaps a patent examiner will realize that there's a bit of prior art around this particular concept.
    Doubtful.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Ahhh, Oct 22nd, 2007 @ 10:26pm

    Ahhh lawyers

    Precisely coward. Well the one thing that I can see holding this up is that it's public knowledge and therefore prior art ... to patent it, they would need to prove they were first to use such a strategy (and it would of been way too long ago to be patenting it). Also potentially facing law suits for doing so. Unless they attempt to (the more likely scenario) disprove it, and use it against another company extorting them and therefore saving hundreds of millions of dollars.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Whatever, Oct 23rd, 2007 @ 6:41am

    It just occured to me...

    The patent office has it backward. They need to operate more like an HMO. You know, deny everything until the filer gets to fed up they give up.

    The ones who persevere probably have legitimate new ideas that are patent worthy.

    Just a thought.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    angry dude, Oct 23rd, 2007 @ 9:17am

    Do me a favor, please

    Reading all the usual comments from techdirt retards...

    Why don't you guys do us all a favor and become professional organ donors ?
    There is no other use of you, except maybe for fertilizing ground...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2007 @ 11:40am

    Re: Do me a favor, please

    why don't you do us a favor and finally tell us what patent you're supposed to hold?

    My first guess would be a patent to post bs on sites like TD

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Jay Fude, Oct 23rd, 2007 @ 12:04pm

    Brilliant

    What if they sue patent trolls for using thier portfolio to sue others, what irony, what a great idea... shiza, better patent it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    yuubi, Oct 23rd, 2007 @ 12:35pm

    RTFApp

    Whoever submitted it to /. either stopped reading too soon or failed to explain why it's not what it looks like to me: selling defense against patent extortion (provided the holder actually does something useful). The description reads like an attempt to patent patent extortion until para 12. Too bad IBM is publishing this as part of an attempt to get a legal monopoly over it.

    (A client buys a floating right to, say, one patent out of a large pool, in case it's needed within the next year. The contract says the client gets assigned a suitable right to a patent in case a predermined event happens.)

    [0012]An example of such a predetermined event can be the initiation of a patent infringement lawsuit by a third party against the client. The client can then use the floating privilege to select one or more patents from among the set of assets associated with the privilege to assert against the third party. Executing the privilege can include granting sufficient rights in the selected patents to give the client standing to sue the third party for infringement of those patents. For example the client can be granted an exclusive license in the patents or the selected patents can be assigned to the client. A predetermined event, as used within the context of this specification for the purpose of executing a floating privilege, may be referred to herein as a "trigger event".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2007 @ 10:43pm

    Re: Re: Do me a favor, please

    My first guess would be a patent to post bs on sites like TD
    Nah, I bet it's for his special method of self-fellatio.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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