IBM looks to open source to boost patent quality

by admin January 10, 2006 at 6:49 am

And gets ready to be crowned US patent king…

IBM is expected to announce today that it won more US patents than any other company and that it will participate in three initiatives to improve patent quality.

For the 13th consecutive year, IBM was awarded the most patents – more than 2,900 – by the US Patent and Trademark Office, according to the company.

IBM is also expected to detail three multi-party efforts to increase review of patent applications, in part by tapping open-source developers and collaborative software. Partners include the Patent Office and the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), an industry consortium that launched a “patent commons” for open-source communities in November 2005.

The US patent system and the quality of patents are increasingly high-profile issues in the technology industry. Patents have been the source of several lawsuits and a number of intellectual property licensing firms have emerged.

Although the contents of patent applications are public record and available to anyone, IBM has worked with the Patent Office to develop the Open Patent Review, a program to allow people, including academics and corporate technologists, to easily view the contents of filed patents and provide feedback to patent examiners.

The system will be designed so people can sign up to receive email or RSS alerts about patent applications filed with certain criteria, according to Bob Sutor, IBM’s vice president of standards and open source. IBM is also sponsoring a Community Patent website.

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