IBM seeks to patent...offshoring (???)

IBM will next try to patent prayer. Because that, I hope, is what will be required to get this patent upheld.

Oh, my. Sometimes the cheek of the proprietary world just becomes a tad too much. That's what I thought when I read this on about IBM attempting to patent offshoring. You know, that practice that requires hefty innovation and a large investment of time and R&D dollars?

At times it's depressing to live in the United States when such buffoonery is commonplace.

Stephanie Overby at writes:

Those new to the world of IT services might be taken aback by a vendor bold enough to propose that it had invented this unique process called "offshoring." Those familiar with IBM know it?s just another day at the office. Big Blue pays a premium to patent-filing employees. As a result, the $91 billion vendor filed 3,651 patents last year, making it the leader in U.S. patent filing for the 14th year in a row. Back in March, I wrote about IBM's patent application for "benchmarking," which one outspoken source likened to trying to patent breathing. It was a patent so broad that, if granted, it could give IBM the power to sue benchmarkers whenever they do their work, I was told.

It gets worse. IBM is attempting to patent a number of other things related to offshoring, as Slashdot points out (like, um, being able to search for talent within one's company or partner network to handle a given job). IBM is a good company. But sometimes its voracious appetite for patents is silly.

At least it generally uses its patents for good. It's just too bad that it wants to patent everything on the planet.

Tech Culture
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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