While the industry suffers at the hands of patent trolls, IBM had a crack at dealing with them by being a bit trollish itself.
Conceivably Tech was the first to notice. The US Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from IBM, which automates the management of intellectual property and comes with a “defend” module to formulate a strategy in the case of patent infringement.
In short, the patent is to automate the suing of other companies that the computer believes are infringing your copyright.
After all it can be jolly confusing working out who is suing whom, and for what in the smartphone industry at the moment.
Big Blue’s idea is to create software which can organise a patent mess from the beginning to end. According to the patent, the components are divided in a “direct” portion, which includes the overall strategy such as R&D, portfolio, filing, budgeting and forecasting. “Control” covers factors such as market alignment, invention evaluation, IP valuation, and inventor training. “Execute” includes trade secret protection, trademark creation, IP landscaping, technology monitoring, and competitive intelligence.
It is an automated troll which would be a match for the Golum of Prague with lots of tools to manage licensing negotiations, cross-licensing negotiations, and assignment negotiations based on said business strategies.
It would be an ideal Christmas present for Redmond’s Paul Allen who is suing the universe at the moment or anyone who happens to make a smartphone and believes they invented it.
However it is really ironic how the software was created. A bloke in Biggish Blue collected all the experience IBM gained from filing more than 100 patents every week throughout the year and knocked them into a handy chart.
It was then realised that given the way the universe was moving on IP that should be patented too. Thus IBM has patented the patent process. If the patent office is dumb enough to approve this, then it means that every time you patent something you have to give IBM a tinkle to see if you did it differently from its process. Otherwise its software might send you a writ. Sheesh.