Feast for open source as IBM opens patent pantry

January 11, 2005

IBM has pledged open access to key innovations covered by 500 IBM software patents to people and groups working on open source software. The pledge applies to any individual, community, or company working on or using software that meets the Open Source Initiative (OSI) definition of open source software.

This is believed to be the largest pledge ever of patents of any kind and represents a major shift in the way IBM manages and deploys its intellectual property portfolio. That portfolio grew by more than 3,000 patents in 2004. In fact, according to United States Patent and Trademark Office, IBM earned more U.S. patents than any other company for the 12th consecutive year. IBM had 1,314 more patents than any other company. This marks the fourth consecutive year IBM has received more than 3,000 U.S. patents, and IBM remains the only company to receive more than 2,000 patents in one year.

“True innovation leadership is about more than just the numbers of patents granted. It's about innovating to benefit customers, partners and society,” said Dr. John E. Kelly, IBM senior vice president, Technology and Intellectual Property. “Our pledge today is the beginning of a new era in how IBM will manage intellectual property.

“This is not a one-time event,” said Dr. Kelly. “While IBM will continue to demonstrate leadership in patent output, through measures such as today's pledge, we will increasingly use patents to encourage and protect global innovation and interoperability through open standards and we urge others to do so as well.”

Patents included in the pledge relate to many aspects of software innovation. Several of the patents cover dynamic linking processes for operating systems. Another is valuable to file-export protocols. The pledged patents cover a wide spectrum, including patents on operating systems, databases, methods for testing programming interfaces, and even cursive text recognition.

Pledged Patents

Today's pledge supports IBM's desire to advance open standards and information technology interoperability. IBM has been making selected patents available on a royalty-free basis for use in open standards covering software protocols, file formats, and interfaces.

The patents included in this pledge relate to many aspects of software innovation. Several of the patents cover dynamic linking processes for operating systems. Another patent is valuable to file-export protocols. In total, the pledged patents cover a wide breadth, including patents on important interoperability features of operating systems and databases, as well as internet, user interface, and language processing technologies.

The pledged patents and further related information will be posted on IBM's website at www.ibm.com/ibm/licensing/patents/pledgedpatents.pdf

Innovation that Matters to the World

IBM invests approximately five billion dollars annually in research and development and has made many discoveries and inventions that have improved quality of life.

IBM's focus on innovation goes beyond standard technology. For example, in 2004 IBM received dozens of patents related to accessibility for people with disabilities, including: advances in speech recognition, wireless Braille devices, web site accessibility and a portable colorimeter for the colorblind.

The 2004 patent results were reported today by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. An agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the USPTO issues patents, administers the patent and trademark laws of the U.S., and advises the administration on intellectual property policy.

Results and ranking also were reported today by IFI CLAIMS Patent Services, which compiles the CLAIMS© patent database and annually reports the number of U.S. patents issued to companies. According to IFI CLAIMS, IBM inventors were listed on 29 additional patents awarded to other primary assignees for a total of 3,277 patents.

Explore further: Silicon photonics meets the foundry

Related Stories

Silicon photonics meets the foundry

September 9, 2015

Advances in microprocessors have transferred the computation bottleneck away from CPUs to better communications between components. That trend is driving the advance into optical interconnection of components, now moving ...

Simulations lead to design of near-frictionless material

July 22, 2015

Argonne scientists used Mira to identify and improve a new mechanism for eliminating friction, which fed into the development of a hybrid material that exhibited superlubricity at the macroscale for the first time. Argonne ...

Facebook buys IBM patents

March 23, 2012

Facebook confirmed Friday that it has added a trove of IBM patents to its arsenal on an increasingly lawsuit-strewn technology battlefield.

Stolen data finder could reduce harm for companies

June 8, 2015

Business owners don't need IT skills to understand that data breaches are serious. Certainly big names in retail and health care know by experience that such breaches have serious after-effects. Breaches have an impact on ...

IBM sues Priceline over patents

February 11, 2015

IBM is suing Priceline over a set of patents that the century-old technology firm says have been vital to the relative newcomer's success.

Recommended for you

NASA measuring the pulsating aurora

October 7, 2015

Thanks to a lucky conjunction of two satellites, a ground-based array of all-sky cameras, and some spectacular aurora borealis, researchers have uncovered evidence for an unexpected role that electrons have in creating the ...

The topolariton, a new half-matter, half-light particle

October 7, 2015

A new type of "quasiparticle" theorized by Caltech's Gil Refael, a professor of theoretical physics and condensed matter theory, could help improve the efficiency of a wide range of photonic devices—technologies, such as ...

Perfectly accurate clocks turn out to be impossible

October 7, 2015

Can the passage of time be measured precisely, always and everywhere? The answer will upset many watchmakers. A team of physicists from the universities of Warsaw and Nottingham have just shown that when we are dealing with ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.