Strange days indeed
Specifically, IBM - which collects more than $1 billion in patent royalties every year - describes a new process for licensing patents. Instead of smaller companies licensing technologies from patent holders like IBM in a plodding, one-by-one manner, IBM envisions a more dynamic system with "floating privileges," in which patents could be licensed quickly, as needed.
The application says this floating privilege, once purchased, could be activated by a patent-infringement lawsuit. In other words, companies would buy the right to use a patent portfolio like IBM's as a legal shield for themselves - "just like purchasing a fire insurance policy," IBM's application contends.