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January 17, 2009

Patent Strategies

Year after year, IBM plows ahead filing, and getting, more U.S. patents than anyone: 4,186 gotten last year, the 16th consecutive year leading the patent pack. Samsung came up to number two in 2008, with 3,515. HP has taken a different tack the last few years, and fallen behind in the numbers.

In 2005, HP was number three getting patents. CEO Carly Fiorina departed, and tightwad Mark Hurd stepped in. In 2008, HP was number 10, at 1,424. HP IP VP Kevin Light spins it as "quality over quantity." HP is supposedly "seeking broad patents" going "directly to its main businesses, avoiding the costs of filing patents that may relate to more specific processes." Nothing obvious about broad patents. You betcha. HP is increasingly relying up trade secrets, especially in services. Secret services: "we'd like to help you, but we can't tell you how."

Dave Kappos, IBM patent poobah, said 70% of IBM's patents this year were business methods and software. "The majority of the innovation that goes on in the services industry is really technology." With the recent Bilski and Comiskey decisions devastating patent protection for those areas, IBM may have collected a horde of unenforceable junk patents. Having been confederate to the rabble rousers that agitated the high courts to frenzied stupidity about patentability, IBM is just reaping what it sowed.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Posted by Patent Hawk at January 17, 2009 10:58 PM | Patents In Business

Comments

You mention HP. Over the last few years they have gotten the rep of not amending ANYthing and appealing nearly EVERY case ASAP. Even rock-solid 102s. The majority that I have seen they have lost at the board when the decision came back.
Unless they think that their initial claim writing is perfect it seems like they are going thru the motions of prosecution more than actually trying to get claims that do not read on the prior art.

thanks,

LL

Posted by: Lazarus Long at January 18, 2009 3:10 PM

Samsung was mentioned as getting a lot of patents. Big news in my area is that they seem to have slashed their IP budget quite a bit. I got two abandonment for cases that were really close to allowance. One of them all they needed to do was perfect foreign priority or file a 1.132 affidavit.

Posted by: 2600examiner at January 19, 2009 6:43 AM

The playing field has shifted.

Big tech companies with dubious (in light of Bilski and the direction coming from the BPAI) patents will have two options:
1) dedicate their patents to the public inorder to avoid #2.
2) throw money away fighting the inevitable re-exam and trashing of their patents under the new light of non-patentability due to the new definition of 101.

Posted by: New Light at January 19, 2009 7:11 AM

"Over the last few years they have gotten the rep of not amending ANYthing and appealing nearly EVERY case ASAP. Even rock-solid 102s. The majority that I have seen they have lost at the board when the decision came back."

I wonder if they save more money by appealing than churning through a useless series of amendments and RCEs.

Posted by: anonymous at January 20, 2009 4:44 PM