Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
IBM Businesses

IBM Files the Patent Troll Patent 109

Posted by samzenpus
from the prior-troll dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It's all or nothing over at IBM as the company goes for the gold and files the patent troll patent. Forget the Hyperlink patent or the POS shutdown patent, IBM wants the patent patent. Its idea is centered around an approach to managing patents from inventor training to filing and protection strategies, including competitive monitoring. At least in theory, IBM could get approval to own the idea of how to manage patents and make a business out of IP. The next time you file a patent, you may want to contact them as you may need a license to file for filing."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

IBM Files the Patent Troll Patent

Comments Filter:
  • Metapatent? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 02, 2011 @02:23PM (#34738504)

    So basically this is a "metapatent." Someone should patent the idea of doing metapatents! And someone else should patent the idea of the idea of doing metapatents!

    • by durrr (1316311)
      We're awfully close to (meta^n)patents when we start going down that path.
      • no no, haven't you ever read a patent?

        the way to say it is

        "We're awfully close to meta, to a plurality of powers, grants made by a government that confers upon the creator of an invention the sole right to make, use, and sell that invention for a set period of time."

    • Re:Metapatent? (Score:5, Informative)

      by icebike (68054) on Sunday January 02, 2011 @03:35PM (#34739008)

      So basically this is a "metapatent." Someone should patent the idea of doing metapatents! And someone else should patent the idea of the idea of doing metapatents!

      No its not.

      Its a patent for a software system. Period. End of Story.

      The Summary above is almost pure hype, based on an article that itself was mostly hype, leading to a perfect storm of hype.

      (Maybe Hype Squared should be patented, at least we could go after these hypesters that post stories on Slashdot to troll anything relating to patents.)

      You can''t release a piece of software that mimics ALL of IBMs claim, but that has nothing to do with patenting anything.

      • "Its a patent for a software system."

        "software system" does not magically make something unique. Compare "A method for adding 1+2" with "A method for adding 1+2 using software".

        Wow software! how original.

        But, that's how our patent system works.

        You likely can't patent a general banking system.

        But you could patent:
        "banking system on the internet"
        then
        "banking system on a mobile phone"
        then
        "banking system on a smart phone"
        then
        "banking system on a tablet"
        then ...
        "banking system on a holographic computing device"

        • by icebike (68054)

          "Its a patent for a software system."

          "software system" does not magically make something unique.

          It is a patent for a unique software system.

          There is no system exactly like this system which therefore makes it unique, no magic needed.

          You can not market a Software System to manage Patents if it violates this patent.

          If IBM did not restrict their patent to a particular platform then it is not so limited, and they can come out with an iphone version, a tablet version, etc, and nobody else can take IBM's system and tweak it for an iphone.

          If IBM DID tie their patent to a specific platform (which would be rea

        • by morgauxo (974071)
          This looks like some pretty specific software.

          Even if it wasn't though.. isn't that how most patents have been since about 1995? Do x which has been done billions of times before since the beginning of history but do it with a computer...
    • by diodeus (96408)

      I'm going to patent the process of patents. Nyah!

      This will be the death of us all.

    • Bwa! Hands off! I have prior art! [slashdot.org]

      *grin*

  • by seebs (15766) on Sunday January 02, 2011 @02:23PM (#34738506) Homepage

    I was walking in an icy parking lot when it hit me:

    1. File a business method patent on "keeping a parking lot so icy that it's hard to walk safely in it."
    2. Sue people for violations.

    This led to my revised idea:
    1. File a business method patent on patent trolling.

    I thought I was joking. The thing is, if I blogged about it (and I may have), I wonder if it's prior art?

    • Does your "blog" have a copyright notice? Contact a lawyer, it's time to SUE!
      • by seebs (15766)

        I have no idea, but copyright wouldn't allow me to sue them unless they used my exact wording in their patent, because copyright protects expressions, not ideas.

        IANAL, but I talk to one sometimes.

        • No, the **AA has already established that IBM has criminally violated your rights.

          As a red-blooded American, you *MUST* seek a high fine and jail sentence for the THEFT of your intellectual property.
          • by aliquis (678370)

            When I ask people who's the first dork they can think of they all answer:
            - You!

            Now I've found out there are plenty of other dorks around, but obviously I was the first one, now ...

            2) ...
            3) profit!

    • by Sinbios (852437)

      You can't sue people for violations of your patent if they don't actually commercialize it.

      Well, you could, but you'll just get laughed out of court and end up paying for all the patent lawyers.

    • by josepha48 (13953)
      The way a patent works is the claims in the patent need to be invalidated for the patent to be invalidated. So unless IBM is claiming exactly what you may have blogged about and you blogged about it more than a year ago, it would not be prior art. Even if you did blog exactly what they were claiming, if they changed the wording semantics a little they could get around that. Also they have made it easier to get stupid patents.
    • by leromarinvit (1462031) on Sunday January 02, 2011 @04:22PM (#34739252)

      This led to my revised idea:
      1. File a business method patent on patent trolling.

      I thought I was joking. The thing is, if I blogged about it (and I may have), I wonder if it's prior art?

      Was that before April 2007? If not, Halliburton beat you to it:

      Patent Acquisition and Assertion by a (Non-Inventor) First Party Against a Second Party [uspto.gov]

    • by istartedi (132515)

      1. File a business method patent on "keeping a parking lot so icy that it's hard to walk safely in it."

      I would like to cite the parking lots at several places I have worked or studied, as prior art.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I should patent the idea on patenting an idea about patenting patents and patent management.

  • Fixing this mess (Score:5, Informative)

    by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Sunday January 02, 2011 @02:24PM (#34738520) Homepage
    documenting it on http://en.swpat.org/ [swpat.org]

    More important than yet-another-silly-patent, this year there will be opportunities to fix this mess somewhat. In the USA, the Supreme Court is to hear the i4i v. Microsoft case, and in Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal will decide if Amazon's 1-click patent is valid patentable subject matter.

    Background info:

  • by mysidia (191772) on Sunday January 02, 2011 @02:27PM (#34738548)

    For contributory infringement, due to having approved a patent whose filing infringes upon IBM's patent rights

    Perhaps would teach them a lesson about obvious patents?

    • by fishexe (168879)

      Perhaps would teach them a lesson about obvious patents?

      No, just recursive ones.

  • From nations such as China ignoring our IP to bigger International Corporations roping off the industry to prevent newcomers from competing; I'd say the whole damn system is just broken. I think many of us can agree to that. The real question is, what can we replace it with? Or, should be just drop the whole damn thing and hope for the best? I tend to think the latter, I'm not 100% sure about that.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Step 1: Elect a President who was actually honest about change.

    • From nations such as China ignoring our IP to bigger International Corporations roping off the industry to prevent newcomers from competing; I'd say the whole damn system is just broken. I think many of us can agree to that. The real question is, what can we replace it with? Or, should be just drop the whole damn thing and hope for the best? I tend to think the latter, I'm not 100% sure about that.

      I say first off, nuke the entire backlog of patents the office has with a REJECTED stamp, then hire some competent workforce, who actually check the background and decide whether it's actually new or even if new, not obvious. If obvious, kill it with fire, regardless of who filed it.

      That's just my two cents, though...

      • by r6144 (544027)

        I suppose the fee for filing a patent can be increased to a million dollars or so, so that we can pay for a sufficient number of real experts with enough time to show how a given patent is actually obvious.

        But money only works up to a point. Examining patents is much less interesting than actually developing new stuff, and the real experts are probably paid well enough for developing stuff. If you tell them that examining patents is a citizen's duty to protect the country from patent trolls, maybe they wi

  • by ZeroNullVoid (886675) on Sunday January 02, 2011 @02:40PM (#34738636)
  • ...one could patent a step necessary in obtaining patents, and then refuse to license it to anybody.

    • by sumdumass (711423)

      Congress would just confiscate it and pay the guy $10 or so each time it's used as a fair market value, turn around and pass the fee onto the people when they file.

      Patents are one of congress's constitutional duties. They can do about anything that doesn't violate the constitution to maintain the ability to fulfill that duty however they wanted.

  • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Sunday January 02, 2011 @02:45PM (#34738668) Homepage

    After reading TFA and finding effectively nothing about the patent itself, other than typical "oh-no-patents-are-bad" scaremongering, I finally found one single link to the patent in question [uspto.gov]. The title (conveniently not mentioned in TFA) is "Intellectual Property Component Business Model for Client Services". From that alone, it appears the patent covers only a particular method for managing IP. It doesn't directly relate to actually filing patents at all.

    Looking at the abstract and claims, it describes a "computer system" (probably implemented as an application like any other) with a large number of modular parts that manages each step of IP creation, organization, administration, and enforcement.

    It includes a module to keep track of what is or is not a current patent, and where.

    It includes a module to keep track of who's licensing what, and with what conditions.

    It includes a module to take a business plan and figure out what IP will be necessary to enact that plan.

    Skimming through the other claims, it appears to be pretty benign: It's an application to sort out the mess of IP every big company has. Heck, as a final product, it might even cut down the number of patent trolls, because companies can more easily show all the IP that a particular product uses, and know that what the troll is claiming is not in the product.

    • by icebike (68054)

      Exactly.

      Its a computer system people.

      Now can we just stop with the sophomoric posts about patenting rain and move on?

      There never was a story here. They patented a software package. Thats all.

       

      • ok, I am going to use type-writers and telegrams. Or, perhaps, I will just use pen and paper and communicate with postal mail or pigeons. No computers, just good ol' vintage commerce style. The wheel has turned full circle ?
    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      So basically, you are allowed to patent the idea of creating a software system of any specific business operation or operations, without even having a specific implementation, at which point no one is allowed to create their own implementation without paying you? I could patent software for managing the selling and charging of ads for example, assuming it hasn't already been done? It still sounds pretty broken to me.
      • by Sarten-X (1102295)

        Yes, if you're very specific about the details of what your program does, and what's novel about it. There's the rub: How much novel material would you be able to gather in one place? How much time and money would it take to compile the material into a marketable system? That investment is what the patent aims to recoup.

        This is not a patent covering all forms of IP management. It covers one specific system. Change any part significantly, and it's no longer covered. One of the details is that objects are ref

  • its as if they are doing this consciously, to break down the patent system by showing how absurd and illogical it is. it is SO extreme that, well, extreme.
  • by cinnamon colbert (732724) on Sunday January 02, 2011 @02:52PM (#34738712) Journal
    there are 3 independent claims, 1, 10, and 18
    1 is below
    It is a bit hard to follow, but claim language is the precise definition of what the patent covers; if you have something that omits only one of the items below, then you are not infringing Given the many, many steps in the claim 1, I don't see it having much value - for instance, the claim language says that there will be guidelines for IP counsel; if you did everything exactly as the IBM patent said, but omitted this step, you would not be infringing. 1. A computerized system for an intellectual property (IP) framework, including:a strategic planning computer module for formulating business strategies for creating and managing inventions and IP rights, said strategic planning module including at least one electronic database having data for formulating said business strategies;an invent computer module for managing creation of said inventions based on said business strategies;an IP creation computer module for determining value of said inventions and creating an IP portfolio, said creating of said IP portfolio including creating said IP rights based on said determining of said value and said business strategies;an IP administration computer module for managing said IP rights based on said business strategies including extension, maintenance and retirement of said IP rights, measuring performance of said business strategies, creating and modifying budgets, and setting guidelines for IP counsel;a defend computer module for defending against infringements and invalidations of said IP rights based on said business strategies and monitoring market and competitor actions to develop risk management plans;an influence computer module including a standards influencing unit, a legal and regulatory influencing unit, and a policy influencing unit; anda capitalize computer module for identifying potential licensees and potential assignees of said IP rights, and managing licensing negotiations, cross-licensing negotiations, and assignment negotiations based on said business strategies,said business strategies provided by said strategic planning computer module being input into at least one of said invent computer module, said IP creation computer module, said IP administration computer module, said defend computer module, said influence computer module, and said capitalize computer module,said inventions provided by said invent computer module being input into said IP creation computer module, andsaid IP rights provided by said IP creation computer module being input into at least one of said IP administration computer module, said defend computer module, said influence computer module, and said capitalize computer module.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      module IP computer strategic module said framework legal IP module framework computer said administration legal module module computer strategic IBM strategic module IP IBM IP framework rights strategic legal computer IBM IP strategic administration module legal rights strategic legal strategic IBM IP strategic said computer rights legal strategic IP module computer computerized IBM legal module IP computer IBM legal computer rights module IP module administration rights said module said IBM module framewor

      • by Anonymous Coward

        BINGO!!!

    • by icebike (68054)

      Thank you for that wall of text.

      Did someone patent the paragraph break while I was asleep?

      • by mikiN (75494)

        Siiiiggghhh.

        If people (inside and outside of the patent office) would spend less time burping up all that text and building those paper walls that don't do nothing in defending a (non-)idea (i.e. intellectual property), then those very same people could spend more time thinking up Actual Useful Stuff, like extremely low-power sensor networks to monitor the (destruction of the) environment, super-efficient solar panels, software that debugs itself, or even a cure for cancer for all I care.

        Let's stop this BS

    • ...if you did everything exactly as the IBM patent said, but omitted this step, you would not be infringing.

      This is where you are wrong. This may be how it is supposed to work, but it is not how it works in reality. In reality, if you do anything even remotely similar to any ONE claim in a patent, you are risking financial ruin. Perhaps IBM doesn't instigate frivolous patent suits (that I know of, but I might be totally wrong), but other companies certainly do. And the current patent systems encourages (some would say that it demands) this behavior.

      This patent is just as ridiculous as all the other business

  • IBM: "I'd like to File a Patent Application on how to get a Patent"
    Patent Examiner: Okay but what is the patent application for exactly?
    IBM: How to get a patent.
    PE: Let me get this straight, you want a patent on patents?
    IBM: Well not exactly, on how to get a patent.

    I'm not feeling funny enough to take this all the way but you get the idea.

  • Considering all the patent trolls around, couldnt this have some kind of prior art problem?
  • That's OK because I have already patented the process of patent patenting. Therefore, any patent patenters who attempt to patent their patent patenting process will need to first license my patent patent patent.

    • by mtaht (603670)
      I think Charles Stross has prior art. From Accelerando [antipope.org], published in 2005: "In IP geek circles, Manfred is legendary; he's the guy who patented the business practice of moving your e-business somewhere with a slack intellectual property regime in order to evade licensing encumbrances. He's the guy who patented using genetic algorithms to patent everything they can permutate from an initial description of a problem domain - not just a better mousetrap, but the set of all possible better mousetraps. Roughly
    • My patent is "A method and process for doing stuff with things." So that covers about everything. So the US patent folks can clean their desks out, and go fishing.

  • which took me 2FH, I believe this falls into the patent tools arena, sort of like TurboTax (if they had been the first to patent a computerized way to aid in the preparation of taxes) for patents. Some of it seemed either ironic or sarcastic, like the figures describing the computerized system -- 1400 -- a veiled reference to one of IBM's most famous computer lines. It would only be useful if someone else tries to market a PatentMaker app. Without the computerized part, it would be like trying to patent
  • The rest of the world will probably put the US into quarantine to avoid contamination by our lawyers. We don't have any money left to buy anything from them anyway and who needs a nation of moochers.
  • I patent the use of the letter "E" on line $0.02 per use pay in 7 days or $45 late fee.

  • If only someone had been a bit faster, they could have headed this off by filing the patent troll patent troll patent!

  • If anything, this proves how ridiculous the whole patent process became.

    Patents are supposed to encourage innovation. Not stifle it. They're supposed to encourage publishing and give someone an incentive to invest into R&D without fearing someone else reaping the rewards. Instead it has been perverted into a get-rich-quick scheme where the winner is not who invests into R&D but who comes up with trivial ideas and locks them up in a patent so nobody else may use it without coughing up dough.

    So the fi

    • If anything, this proves how ridiculous the whole patent process became.

      Patents are supposed to encourage innovation. Not stifle it.

      No, if anything, this proves how ridiculous all the "zomg patents r broke" posts are. Look at this thread - 95% ranting about how patents are broken and making jokes about patenting breathing, and 5% actually talking about the claims of this application and noting that the article summary has little to do with them.

      Slashdot threads are supposed to encourage investigation and debate. Not stifle it in FUD.

      As a side note, much of your post is complaining about the Amazon one-click patent. That patent has bee

  • This is MY invention: Phone-y-Arm [inasphere.com]
    I'm going to patent it.
    Then sue everyone holding a cell phone to their ear while driving.
  • Yo dawg! I heard you like to sue while you troll, so we put a patent in your patent so you can troll when you sue.

    • by healyp (1260440)
      Let me take a crack,

      Yo dawg! I heard you like patents, so we patented patenting so you can't patent when you patent.

  • Somebody had to file this. Now how long before somebody patents getting money for patent trolling?

    Oops... Prior Art.
  • If this finally gets the courts to see how broken the patent system is and force lawmakers to re-think or scrap the whole system it'll be a big win for all concerned.
    At this point, big players like MS, Apple, IBM and Intel may have realized the the risk of loss from patent trolls might be greater than any potential gains from licensing their technology.

  • ...to file a patent on filing patents against people who file patents.

    No, wait....

  • Sanity test.

    Fail to scan the summary *before* clicking the link == fail.

    It's a samzenpus submitted "story". Apparently in a fit of anti-discrimination stupidity Slashdot decided that trolls should be allowed to be editors - and samzenpus got the job. At least it's consistently wrong - from naming the author to interpreting meaning.

    Dear Cowboy - please stop by sometime, the bots you left in charge are all broken.

  • Wonder why companies are moving R&D offshore? Wonder why the only part of the company that is left is a post-office box? Patents for ideas are non-patents. Imagine if I find a better way to calculate the square root of an arbirary number. I could patent it and then charge a royalty fee for it's use. So, it's time to abolish software patents, or DIE.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson

Working...