Andy Updegrove writes to mention a New York Times article about IBM's bold new move to reform patent practices. The nation's largest patent holder will adopt several new policies intended to clear up the veil of secrecy and wall of lawsuits that plague the patent process. From the article: "The policy, being announced today, includes standards like clearly identifying the corporate ownership of patents, to avoid filings that cloak authorship under the name of an individual or dummy company. It also asserts that so-called business methods alone -- broad descriptions of ideas, without technical specifics -- should not be patentable. The move by I.B.M. does carry business risks. Patents typically take three or four years after filing to be approved by the patent office. Companies often try to keep patent applications private for as long as possible, to try to hide their technical intentions from rivals."