IBM Applies For A Patent On Finding Areas That Lack Patents

from the please-say-this-is-satire dept

Slashdot points us to the news that IBM has applied for a patent on a process for identifying markets where there isn’t much patent coverage. Yes, think about the recursive silliness here. The application describes a process for looking for so-called “white spaces,” where there doesn’t appear to be many patents covering a topic in a patent database. Of course, you have to wonder if someone could make the argument that having such a process suggest areas in which to pursue patents would raise questions about whether or not those patents would pass the non-obvious test. Meanwhile, chalk another one up for IBM, which keeps claiming that it’s trying to raise the bar on patent quality.

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Companies: ibm

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Comments on “IBM Applies For A Patent On Finding Areas That Lack Patents”

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Jake says:

I swear they’re coming up with these just so they can see what they can get away with now. Or maybe they had a particularly boozy working lunch and decided to see who could come up with the most outrageous patent imaginable, only someone from the legal department was listening and didn’t realise they were kidding until it was too late.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

@ #3:

Yes. Yes they are. IBM surprisingly wants the patent system fixed. The way it currently exists is a liability to doing business. You almost HAVE to be a patent troll at this point just to keep the other patent trolls away.

What sucks? Thanks to the wonderful apathy of the citizenry and congress its going to take decades to correct what is wrong with this country, and only if we start working yesterday.

Anonymous Coward says:

Are you kidding me? Hasn’t anyone been listening? If you had, you’d know that this couldn’t be better news! What do ridicuous patents do? Stifle innovation. If IBM has a patent on the process, they’ll sue the pants off any patent hoarding firm that tries to use it. IBM’s found a way to turn the patent system agent the firms that would try to abuse it. They’re abusing the patent system for the sake of innovation. (Doesn’t that sound odd?)
I realize that this is a bit idealistic. I’m sure that IBM isn’t as altruistic as that, but the result is the same.

Luther Woodrum says:

exploiting the system

Patent law was changed not long ago to grant a patent to the first filer, not to the first discoverer/implementer.

That means anyone can file a patent on something that has not already been patented. The fact that it is already in use is not a problem. Something already in use for a long time will
likely not have any prior art documented either, because it is too obvious.

Nevertheless, patents are granted anyway. For example, I have found patents that were granted that have the EXACT SAME CLAIMS, except for slight differences in the wording, as the claims in some of my patents, which were granted decades before the other patents were filed.
In this case the prior art was well documented, but it didn’t make any difference. If there is an area with little or no documented prior art, then I have no reason to believe it would be a problem for a filer.
So all the process would have to do is identify areas with
little or no documentation.
It is particularly easy for art before 1970 or so, because that patent art is not available online, and is not indexed.
Apparently anything before 1970 is not considered art any more, until someone files another patent on it.

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