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.

Filed Under: ,
Companies: ibm, uspto

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Comments on “IBM Trying To Get Patent On Patent Extortion?”

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GeneralEmergency (profile) says:

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”.

Ahhh says:

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.

yuubi says:


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”.

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