Bonum Certa Men Certa

IBM is Still Hoarding Patents, Even Software Patents

PC heatsink



Summary: Once a hardware giant, IBM moves on to becoming a patents giant, and even software is on the menu

SOME time less than a decade ago the buzzword "cloud" started to creep in. What it meant back then was not what it means right now because the term is so vague that it became almost meaningless. Depending on who one asks, now it means just about anything to do with a server, even if it's a local server storing something on your desk. In a sense, everything is "cloud" now. Everything (well, almost everything) can be framed as such.



"Cloud Patents" became a new and misleading term in the media some days ago [1, 2, 3, 4]. It's because of IBM, a longtime promoter of software patents (although IBM usually hides this tendency or resorts to openwashing with some pledges, OIN, et cetera).

“IBM is moving into cloud patents, but that's not necessarily going to upset established providers.”
      --Charles Babcock
Days have passed since IBM's charm offensive and Charles Babcock now says that "IBM Locks Up Cloud Processes With Patents". "IBM has received 1,200 patents on cloud computing over the last 18 months," he wrote. "Here's a sample of what Big Blue is patenting and why it's a concern." Charles Babcock later published "IBM Wields Cloud Patents For Defense, Profit". He said that "IBM is moving into cloud patents, but that's not necessarily going to upset established providers. In a pinch, they could end up as partners."

Another new report (the latest we could find) says that "Just like Goldfinger attempted to corner the supply of Gold, it seems that Big Blue is attempting the same thing with cloud patents."

Whatever IBM is doing here (or trying to achieve hereafter), it's a huge disservice to the fight against software patents. Yes, many of these (probably most) are software patents and this exercise in futility does nothing but saturate the algorithmic space with yet more monopolies, complicating everyone's work on software. IBM makes it possible to virtually sue (or countersue) almost every software company on this planet. Should anyone celebrate this?

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