IBM patenting the fine art of patent trolling?

Is IBM seeking to patent the very process for earning money on patents?

IBM is perhaps the most aggressive patent machine on the planet. In a movereported by The Register today, IBM has now taken a step beyond the pale (again) and sought to patent the art of squeezing profits from patent portfolios, otherwise known as patent trolling.

A filing at the U.S. Patent Office, entitled "system and method for extracting value from a portfolio of assets" stages a landgrab on the thoroughly original idea of letting other people use your ideas.

IBM's intellectual property carpet baggers describe the invention as "obtaining an interest in selected assets from the portfolio to a client who lacks the resources to accumulate and maintain such a portfolio, in return for an annuity stream to the portfolio owner." Or, en Anglais, patent licensing.

The audacious application was originally made in April 2006, and tweaked this year. It was published by the Patent Office last Thursday.

If this is a correct reading on the patent filing, where will IBM stop? Its patents routinely overreach. The only good news is that has yet to see fit to threaten to sue the open-source world. Thank goodness for small favors.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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