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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

IBM : Profit By Making Patents Freely Available

( Via NYTimes) IBM well known for patented inventions once again led the research sweepstakes in America last year, collecting 3,248 patents, more than any other company. And it earned more than $1 billion last year from licensing and selling its ideas. I.B.M. shifted course recently, giving away some of the fruits of its research instead of charging others to use it in sheer self-interest.Diverging from conventional wisdom, IBM has found that sharing technology can sometimes be more profitable than jealously guarding its property rights on patents, copyrights and trade secrets. The internet, globalization and cost pressures are driving businesses to collaborate in the pursuit of higher productivity and profits, and to accelerate the pace of product development. That collaboration requires companies to share more technical information with corporate customers, suppliers and industry partners. The result, specialists say, is that the terms of trade in intellectual property, and the boundary lines, are shifting. Another development in recent years that pushed I.B.M. to reconsider its patent approach has been the surge in patent filings and lawsuits, including the rise of firms whose only business is to file patent infringement suits, known as "patent trolls".I.B.M. is not forsaking its lucrative technology licensing business or pulling back on new patent filings. And the company is not giving away the technology for its mainframe computers, its proprietary database software and other complete products.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
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