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IBM Patents Your Rights Online

IBM Tops "Most Patents List" For 19th Straight Year 47

Posted by samzenpus
from the we're-number-one dept.
bednarz writes "IBM retained its patent crown for 2011, topping the list of patent winners for the 19th year in a row. The only other U.S. company to make the top 10, Microsoft, fell from third place to sixth place, according to IFI Claims Patent Services' list of the top 50 U.S. patent assignees. HP and Intel fell out of the top 10 and landed 14th and 16th, respectively. Apple moved up to No. 39 after breaking into the top 50 for the first time last year. Asian firms account for 25 of the top 50, and U.S. firms hold 17 slots."
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IBM Tops "Most Patents List" For 19th Straight Year

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  • by SpinyNorman (33776) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @06:37PM (#38669002)

    If there are many more like this one:

    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/01/10/1450255/ibm-snags-patent-on-half-day-off-of-work-notifications [slashdot.org]

    then color me unimpressed.

    Next up - IBM patents starting fire by rubbing sticks together.

    • by xMrFishx (1956084)
      The thing is, if IBM patents the planet, eventually the whole system will implode and they'll lose value. So having a big pile of patents will be worthless and all the money thrown at them, as well as fighting them is gone with no value. I don't think we're quite as critical mass yet, but I expect it will happen eventually. The destruction of the patent/copyright system I'd think would be the next global commercial crisis after this financial one, I hope. But that's just me being a cynic.
      • Cynic? That's optimism.

      • I don't think that the copyright demise is that near. At least not compared to all the other candidates. Take finance for example, most people want to say that the financial crisis of 2008 is over but in truth all that politicians managed to do is hide it (well, they are politicians after all). Finance will break down again and soon, most probably with the welfare sector leading the charge this time.

        With governments and politicians being reluctant to do anything progressive - less so if that means going aga

    • IEEE Spectrum magazine annually puts out an international "Patent Power" scorecard for all the major industries to measure patent quality. In its most recent index published in November 2011 [ieee.org], Apple was graded as having the powerful patent portfolio among the consumer electronics companies. Note that companies are listed in only one category, and Samsung is listed in the semiconductor industry, most likely because that is the domain where the majority of its patents are filed. IBM dwarfs all other companies;
      • IEEE Spectrum magazine annually puts out an international "Patent Power" scorecard for all the major industries to measure patent quality. In its most recent index published in November 2011 [ieee.org], Apple was graded as having the powerful patent portfolio among the consumer electronics companies. Note that companies are listed in only one category, and Samsung is listed in the semiconductor industry, most likely because that is the domain where the majority of its patents are filed. IBM dwarfs all other companies; it is listed in the "Computer Systems" category. In the PDF file [ieee.org] that has the actual metrics, the key value to look for is "adjusted pipeline power".

        You can't really compare between categories in a meaningful way. Samsung may have twice Apple's score, but that doesn't mean they have twice as many innovations patented. Actually, I'd suggest that 90% of Apple's patents aren't innovative and shouldn't be patentable. I'm not sure what fraction of Samsung's are based on Apple-like (design, software, pretty colors) topics, but I suspect a lot of them are real innovations in fields like quantum mechanics. They certainly file a lot of innovative solid state

        • by jmcbain (1233044)
          So a company that you like doesn't have valid patents, whereas a company that you do like does have valid patents, and you don't have any solid numbers to back up your conclusions.
    • Did you even bother to read the claims of the patent discussed in the article you linked?

    • by swillden (191260)

      There are exceptions, but in general IBM's patents are pretty high-quality. There's a good internal vetting process that is followed before any patent application is filed, and obviousness is the primary focus of the evaluation committee -- and the committee is staffed with both engineers and attorneys. Obviously it's not perfect because some crap does get through, but not much. Many of IBM's patents are of very high quality, around things like fundamental advances in processor design, magnetic storage,

    • by swalve (1980968)
      Hey, if nobody else did it before them, it must not have been all that obvious. Your logic is like walking up to a $100 bill laying on the ground and not picking it up because somebody must have picked it up already.
  • Hon Hai over Apple? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oxdas (2447598) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @06:41PM (#38669024)

    I guess I don't follow this closely enough, but was anyone else surprised to see Hon Hai with more patents than Apple? For those who don't know, Hon Hai, aka Foxconn, is Apple's primary manufacturing partner.

    • by swalve (1980968)
      It's kind of like avant-guarde architecture. The guy who came up with the wacky design might be a genius, but the guy who figured out how to build it might be an even bigger genius in a slightly different arena.
  • Just the company developing the most products.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone have a lawsuits per patent metric?

  • by msobkow (48369) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @09:38PM (#38670162) Homepage Journal

    By now it wouldn't surprise me if IBM had the biggest patent arsenal in the world. They've spent decades investing heavily in R&D.

    Yet you never hear about IBM suing anyone or anyone suing IBM, except for Darl McBride. Remember him? Took a long time to settle that case, didn't it?

    • by msobkow (48369)

      My second job of my career was programming the very first beta releases of the Santa Cruz Operations unix on an IBM PS/2 Model 60 for AVCO Financial Services in London Ontario. I remember spending several weeks working with their team to debug the tape drivers.

      A few months later, my machine was upgraded to a PS/2 Model 80, because the Model 60 didn't have enough snort to run the overnight batch rollover processing I was hired to write.

      • by msobkow (48369)

        QIC-80? I think that was the drive technology. Long obsolete.

      • by msobkow (48369)

        I got my first exposure to financial or banking systems VERY early in my career. I wrote the ENTIRE rollover batch system myself. It wasn't done and there were more enhancements to be added when my contract was over, but it was a great job and a great experience.

        Banking systems are FAR too complex for one man to code nowadays.

      • by swalve (1980968)
        Man, I loved PS/2 computers. At their time, they were just so cool. Tool-less cases, that wacky MCA architecture, SCSI hard drives in some cases I think, 2.44mb floppies. And the non-cheap ones were fast as shit, for their time.
    • by dk90406 (797452)
      The SCO case (Darl McBride) was not setteled. It never will be. It is on hold, after Novell sued and proved that SCO didn't hold the UNIX copyrights. SCO then went bankrupt, but are trying to open specific claims against IBM.

      SCO will fail, probably because the judge will disagree on allowing SCO to attack without IBM being able to defend. Even if the are allowed to proceed, they will fail, as their claims have no merit whatsoever.
      It is trup SCO hoped for a settlement or buyout, but IBM never bent to their

      • by Xtifr (1323)

        The SCO case (Darl McBride) was not setteled.

        True, except that McBride was little more than a hired hand brought in by the real players to be the public face of the lawsuit. Although it's murky because of the corporate veil, the real villain of the piece appears to be a fellow named Ralph Yarro, former member of the Canopy Group, which used to own Caldera/The SCO Group. Yarro was reportedly responsible for bringing McBride in to replace Ransom Love, and when Canopy eventually dumped Yarro, he (Yarro) basically got SCO (now called TSG) as a going-awa

  • by theodp (442580) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @11:13PM (#38670684)

    BusinessWeek: "Everyone knows that if they attempt to bring their patent portfolio against us that they will be met with an equal and opposite force -- and it will be formidable," [IBM Chief Patent Counsel] Schecter said.

  • Obviously, IBM is giving them some financial incentive to do so. Maybe they have "frequent patent-er points" . . . with 100, you get a mainframe or a Rational license. It also means that IBM values patents highly enough, that they give employees time to spend researching and writing them. It would seem that IBM's patent business strategy is financially successful for them.

    So any other company could do the same, and direct their employees to patent their work, or even ideas that haven't been implemented

    • I must be nude here.

      Umm...not unless you're of feminine gender

    • While I am an IBM employee, I don't speak for them. That being said, for people in the technical tracks, one of the things that management looks at when making the decision to promote somebody, is what kind of patents have they done or been a part of. At the lower levels, it may not matter as much, but as you get higher in the ranks, it becomes much harder to get promoted if you don't have patents.
  • top crap patents ? IBM is a great company; but some of its patents are just laughable !

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