Wednesday, January 20, 2010

IBM May Not Be the Patent King After All - BusinessWeek

See the full article for more context-setting (actually, you’ll need to purchase the dead-tree version of the latest issue, if you want to read the entire article; in what I expect is a leading indicator, BW appears to have stopped publishing full weekly print content on their Web site)

In all, Microsoft's portfolio was assessed at 3.3 times that of IBM's. "This is something that IBM people won't accept, but it's accurate nonetheless," says Steve Lee, president of Ocean Tomo's patent-rating division. He says IBM's portfolio includes a large number of service-related patents, which do not command as high a price as the video-game and software patents that heavily weigh in Microsoft's portfolio.

"The ultimate value is not some rating," says Manny Schecter, IBM's chief patent counsel. "It's the leverage we are able to get from the patent [licensing] negotiations."

At Microsoft, Horacio Gutiérrez, the company's chief intellectual property officer, says patents are treated not as a profit center but "as a currency that you use to trade to another company" for its patents. Volume is an important gauge of a company's innovation, he adds, but "only if they are high-quality patents."

IBM May Not Be the Patent King After All - BusinessWeek

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