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November 23, 2009

#1

Quantity over quality is expressed in the quintessential American hanker of wanting to know who's number 1, which is the surmised measure of who is best. If there ever was a justifiable bifurcation between quantity and quality, it lies with patents. Year after year, IBM gets the most U.S. patents. What does that really mean?

Hal Wegner and Justin Gray have released a short but facilely cogent PowerPoint presentation, pointing out that "patent activity by a small number of companies has more and more come to dominate the United States patent system in the past decade." Further noted is that computer technologies numerically dominate the listing, with the top ten computer companies patenting an order of magnitude more patents than biotech/pharma, 4000 (IBM, Samsung) to 400 (Johnson & Johnson).

Wegner and Gray get silly over automotive patents. "Does patenting a better muffler help the auto industry? In the automotive industry - where cars are sold based upon every factor other than patents - more patents are obtained by the majors than in biotech and pharma." Style matters, but cars are in fact sold based upon leading technology, which is, of course, embodied in patents. Toyota leads the world in automotive sales, technology, and patents.

Contrast the patenting picture to litigation. Bio looms large, comparable to computers for asserted patents. But there is a difference between the two in litigation. Bio battles are between companies, and include a hefty portion of DJ actions, whereas computer patent assertions by participant are mostly lopsided: inventors, small companies, and universities, suing large (or larger) companies.

That's because large computer companies refuse to pay any patent tax unless threatened with the real prospect of damages. In other words, computer companies use litigation as a patent quality vetting process before settling. It's a common complaint how expensive patent litigation is, but it's quite cheap compared to the damages for infringement to the likes of Microsoft, IBM, or Apple. The cost of playing the sport of kings needs to be kept in perspective with what is really going on, rather than superficial appearances.

In bio, the big boys have the patents, which the feisty generics fight over to get a share of a big pie. In computers, inventive David regularly clashes with Goliath, over some of the most valuable intellectual property.

IBM may get the most patents, and a tidy annuity for licensing, but that says more about the quality of its licensing program than it does about the value of its patents, many of which are the same quality which IBM and its corporate brethren rail about as junk, thereby demanding patent reform.

If there is any area where composite numbers don't mean much in terms of quality or value, it's patents.

Posted by Patent Hawk at November 23, 2009 2:52 PM | Patents In Business

Comments

A few years back Greg Aharonyan published his study of IBM patents. He concluded that they are mostly junk, with little or no prior art references cited and of very little value to anybody (except for IBM licensing department extracting royalties left and right from startups and anybody else)
Havign studied quite a few IBM's patents in my particular field I 100% agree with his conslusions: 90% of all IBM's patents are total garbage.

Now that kappos is a head of USPTO I would really like to see him put an end to this practice: flooding PTO with garbage filings and wearing down patent examiners using IBM's unlimited resources (same applies to MShit, HP, Intel and other "patent fairness" coalition members)
It's gotta stop !!!
But honestly I doubt Kappos will take on this task
He will remain a corporate stooge paying a lip service to invention and inventors.

Posted by: angry dude at November 24, 2009 6:46 AM

"He concluded that they are mostly junk, with little or no prior art references cited and of very little value to anybody (except for IBM licensing department extracting royalties left and right from startups and anybody else)."

Interesting way of putting things -- stating that the patents are junk and then stating that the patents are used for "extracting royalties left and right from startups and anybody else."

Wow, I wish all my junk patents were capable of being used to extract royalties left and right.

You state that 90% of IBM's patents are total garbage -- which is not surprising since 90% of patents are junk.

The problem that all companies have (big and small) is that it is difficult to evaluate the technology at the very beginning -- which is when a patent application needs to be filed. Many times, the technology eventually moves in a different direction, and the patents are junk. However, it is difficult to predict what patents those will be prior to filing or even paying the issue fee.

Your statement about "flooding [the] PTO" and "wearing down patent examiners" is a big crock of dung. The PTO gets paid to examine the applications so if there is a reduction in filings, there is a commensurate reduction in filing fees, and also a reduction in examiner head count.

Wearing down examiners?? You have to be f'ing joking. Are you really in this business or do you look at this from afar?

"Now that kappos is a head of USPTO I would really like to see him put an end to this practice"
OK, you made it official, you are looking at these issues from afar. When will people learn that the USPTO does not have substantive rull-making authority? Kapos (and the USPTO) has little say with regard to substantive issues, and your request would definitely be considered substantive.

I like it when people start talking sheet -- it is easy to tell when they are full of it.

Posted by: Curious at November 24, 2009 7:17 AM

No, Curious, IBM's stable of trash is not about technology moving in a different direction. It's about the incompetents who draft the applications and claims, the incompetents who examine them, and the corporate trolls who enforce them.

Here's an example of a 1019 word sack of poodle poop from Idiot Business Methods recently posted on 12:01. It's the SHORTEST independent claim in the patent. I won't go into the details, but the comments over at 12:01 pretty well destroy this dung pile.

http://www.1201tuesday.com/1201_tuesday/2009/09/longest-claim-ever.html#comments

If you are a small company and you get a C&D from some suit at Kappos' prior legal department claiming that you are infringing this piece of puke, what are you going to do -- sign the license agreement or fork over a $75,000 retainer to a lawyer to fight it?

U.S. Patent No. 7,593,860

Career analysis method and system

Assignee: IBM

31. A process for integrating computing infrastructure, comprising integrating computer-readable code into a computer system, wherein the computer system comprises a computer readable medium, wherein said computer usable medium comprises job related data, wherein said job related data comprises a first specified job title and a first list comprising a first plurality of required skills for said first specified job title, wherein said job related data further comprising a plurality of additional job titles, and wherein the code in combination with the computer system is capable of performing a method comprising:

receiving by said computing system, job candidate data, said job candidate data comprising a job candidate and a second list comprising a second plurality of required skills related to a current job held by said job candidate, wherein said current job held by said candidate differs from a job associated with said specified job title;

receiving, by said computing system, first job market data, wherein said first job market data comprises first internal market data and first external market data, wherein said first internal market data comprises first capacity planning data associated with an entity and first workforce management data associated with said entity, and wherein said entity is associated with said first specified job title;

storing within said computer readable medium, said job candidate data and said first job market data;

comparing, said first plurality of required skills with said second plurality of required skills to determine a first set of common skills between said first plurality of required skills and said second plurality of skills;

applying, by said career analysis tool, a first set of weighting factors to said first set of common skills, wherein each weighting factor of said first set of weighting factors is applied to an associated common skill of said first set of common skills based on a predetermined relative importance for each said associated common skill with respect to said first specified job title;

calculating, by said career analysis tool, a first score for said candidate by dividing the number of said first set of common skills by the number of said first plurality of required skills;

comparing by said career analysis tool, said first job market data with said first plurality of required skills to determine a first set of market valued skills from said first plurality of required skills, wherein said first set of market valued skills indicate a first group of critical market place skills required to perform a specified job associated with said first specified job title, wherein said first group of critical market place skills are linked with first business unit skills associated with achieving first business priorities comprising growth in revenue and innovation, and wherein said first group of critical market place skills are aligned with a first specified market direction and a first specified business strategy for said entity;

reviewing, by said career analysis tool after a specified time period, said first set of market valued skills;

determining, by said career analysis tool based on results of said reviewing said first set of market valued skills, that said first set of market valued skills are outdated;

receiving, by said computing system in response to said determining that said first set of market valued skills are outdated, second updated job market data, wherein said second, job market data comprises second internal market data and second external market data, and wherein said second internal market data comprises second capacity planning data associated with said entity and second workforce management data associated with said entity;

storing within said computer readable medium, said second updated job market data;

comparing by said career analysis tool, said second updated job market data with said first plurality of required skills to determine a second set of market valued skills from said first plurality of required skills, wherein said second set of market valued skills differ from said first set of market valued skills, wherein said second set of market valued skills indicate a second group of critical market place skills required to perform said specified job associated with said first specified job title, wherein said second group of critical market place skills are linked with second business unit skills associated with achieving second business priorities comprising growth in revenue and innovation, and wherein said second group of critical market place skills are aligned with a second specified market direction and a second specified business strategy for said entity;

applying, by said career analysis tool, a second set of weighting factors to said second set of market valued skills, wherein each weighting factor of said second set of weighting factors is applied to an associated market valued skill of said second set of market valued skills based on a an amount of time that each said associated market valued skill has been determined to be a market valued skill;

calculating by said career analysis tool, a second score for said job candidate by dividing the number of said second set of market valued skills by the number of said first plurality of required skills;

comparing by said career analysis tool, said first score to a first numerical value;

comparing by said career analysis tool, said second score to a second numerical value;

comparing by said career analysis tool, said first plurality of required skills with said second plurality of required skills to determine a set of required skills of said second plurality of required skills that are not comprised by said first plurality of required skills;

generating by said career analysis tool, a training program for said job candidate to obtain training associated with said set of required skills;

determining by said career analysis tool, results of said comparing said first score to said first numerical value and said comparing said second score to said second numerical value;

determining by said career analysis tool based on said results, that a first analysis score for said job candidate in relation to said first specified job title will be calculated;

calculating by said career analysis tool, said first analysis score, wherein said calculating said first analysis score comprises adding said first score to said second score;

comparing said first analysis score to a first predetermined value; and

performing an action for said job candidate based on results of said comparing said first analysis score to said first predetermined value.

Posted by: Down boy, down at November 24, 2009 9:32 AM

"Curious" obviously has contributed to some of that flood of shitty patent apps coming from the likes of IBM and Mshit

May I remind you that patents are supposed to be issued for INVENTIONS
You know that you have an INVENTION when you actually INVENT something

The garbage contained in 90% of IBM's patents has nothing to do with inventions
It's a waste of examiner's and everybody else's time and a legal extortion scheme

Posted by: angry dude at November 24, 2009 10:15 AM

"The PTO gets paid to examine the applications so if there is a reduction in filings, there is a commensurate reduction in filing fees, and also a reduction in examiner head count."

This is hillarious

A USPTO examiner is allocated like 8 hours (maybe more now ?) to examine a highly complex technology patent with pages of math, some samples of non-trivial computer code and a few dozen claims (mine was 70 pages long overall)
YOu gotta be kidding....
In my case, after reading first office action I immediatly came to conclusion that my (senior level) examiner didn't understand a single paragraph in the application, except for background section
I cost me a few grand to bring my attorney down to Wash DC to have a little 1-hour lesson, a math tutorial if you will, so that poor guy could at least grasp some key concepts better and not sound like a complete idiot in his office actions
It helped tremendously

This is the main problem with USPTO
They need to hire and retain qualified people and give them enough time to examine complex patents
In my case "enough time" would be at least a full week for a PhD level patent examiner

Posted by: angry dude at November 24, 2009 10:36 AM

Of the -- wearing down patent examiners -- business, recall that this was an argument used by Lemley and Moore in their "Ending Abuse..." article in BULR, which was relied upon by the USPTO to justify the proposed rules on continuing applications.

See
http://ipbiz.blogspot.com/2009/11/wearing-down-fallacy-as-to-examiners.html

http://ipbiz.blogspot.com/2008/09/ta-tah-to-quillenwebsterlemley.html

Of patent quality/quantity:

http://ipbiz.blogspot.com/2009/11/quality-lacking-in-hp-laptops.html

http://ipbiz.blogspot.com/2009/01/hewlett-packard-focuses-on-patent.html

Posted by: Lawrence B. Ebert at November 24, 2009 10:44 AM

"You know that you have an INVENTION when you actually INVENT something"

What exquisite and detailed analysis. Did you have to think long and hard to come up with that?

"It's a waste of examiner's and everybody else's time and a legal extortion scheme"

Hmmm ... if somebody is making money off of it, then it isn't a waste of everybody's time, now is it?

The first time you hear somebody scream, the natural reaction is to go and see what they are screaming about. However, when you find out that they are screaming over anything and everything, it becomes easier to tune them out.

No wonder you are angry. You know, they may have some medicines that might help you out.

Posted by: Curious at November 24, 2009 11:02 AM

"If you are a small company and you get a C&D from some suit at Kappos' prior legal department claiming that you are infringing this piece of puke, what are you going to do -- sign the license agreement or fork over a $75,000 retainer to a lawyer to fight it?"

Dude, you know LITTLE about patent law, do you? A 1019 word claim is EASY to get around. BTW -- it doesn't take anywhere near $75K to put a patent in reexamination.

However, take for example, claim 1 of US Patent No. 7,624,231 issued today (11/24/09) to IBM, which consists of only 56 words:

1. A computer implemented method for caching data, the method comprising: striping value data associated with each of a plurality of keyed data sets across a plurality of processes in a data process set; and accessing a first keyed data set among the plurality of keyed data sets using at least one of the plurality of processes.

If you send me a C&D letter on this, I'm much more worried about infringement.

Anyone can play the "bash on patents" game by picking on a single patent.

Amateurs ... simply amateurs.

Posted by: Curious at November 24, 2009 11:13 AM

Curious: Dude, you know LITTLE about patent law, do you? [Sic, grammar much?] A 1019 word claim is EASY to get around. BTW -- it doesn't take anywhere near $75K to put a patent in reexamination.

Oh, yeah. Like re-examination would make a multi-billion dollar troll like IBM blink.

OK, file for inter partes reexam -- what's that going to cost the small guy to complete -- $15,000 minimum. Ex partes, maybe $5,000.

In the mean time IBM files it's infringement action in some jurisdiction across the country from you. Even though the action is as bogus as an east Texas libel suit and the claim is invalid, it's going to cost $30,000 just to resolve jurisdiction/venue and Markman. Easy. Another $10,000 minimum for summary judgment.

If "a 1019 word claim is easy to get around" then why take up the PTO's time filing it? One reason: easy to get around or not, it is presumed valid and therefor becomes a weapon for the troll that owns it, IBM.

You are either duh or you are an IBM suit in attack mode.

Posted by: Down boy, down at November 25, 2009 9:33 AM

"You are either duh or you are an IBM suit in attack mode"

Curious is apparently a stooge for the "Coalition for Patent Fairness" (aka "Patent Piracy Coalition")

The truth is: with corporate IP portfolio of 40,000 patents it doesn't matter a bit if you put 1 or 2 patents of their bullshit patents in re-exam process - IBM will always find a bunch of new bullshit patents to sue your little company out of existence
By the same token, if you are a small fry with just one patent suing IBM for patent infringement and they put your patent in re-exam or DJ you across the country - you are f\/ked

That's patent fairness the IBM way

Posted by: angry dude at November 25, 2009 9:47 AM

"IBM will always find a bunch of new bullshit patents to sue your little company out of existence."

Name me all the "little compan[ies]" that IBM, Microsoft, HP, or any other 800lb gorillas that have sued recently. You'll be surprised to know that number.

Like your pal, down syndrome boy, you know little about how things actually work.

The big boys don't care very much about the small fry. Why risk spending $1M (or much more) on litigation costs (at the minimum) when you cannot recoup that amount even if you win? Besides not knowing about how the process works, you guys don't know how to make intelligent business decisions.

Also, if you knew anything about how most of the big companies make money, they make a lot of their money selling their products to small companies. Not a good business decision to "sue your little company out of existence" when that company is buying your products.

Also, it takes a lot of time and money to identify potential infringers when your patent portfolio numbers in the 4 or 5 digits.

Of course, knowledge of the real world is not a requirement at the USPTO, that prefers to work in a fantasy world -- the USPTO being where angry dude and down syndrome boy work.

"If 'a 1019 word claim is easy to get around' then why take up the PTO's time filing it?"
Not all patents are used for purposes of licensing and/or for filing patent infringement lawsuits -- sheeet, I think they may have covered that stuff in an IP survey class in law school.

BTW -- down syndrome boy, if worrying about my grammar rocks you boat, then welcome to the world of the internet -- you'll find out quickly enough that most people don't care about grammah or spelin.

"if you are a small fry with just one patent suing IBM for patent infringement and they put your patent in re-exam or DJ you across the country - you are f\/ked"
That's what happens when small tries to take on big in any walk of life. No big surprise their. If you are going to take on the big boys, you walk into a gun fight carrying a knife.

Posted by: Curious at November 25, 2009 11:38 AM

"If you are going to take on the big boys, you walk into a gun fight carrying a knife."

If I'm going to take on the big boys I generally ride into a gun fight in a tank.

Posted by: 6000 at November 25, 2009 12:26 PM

too bad for 6000, that the gun fights that he is always engaging himself in are in swamps.

Lovely how fast that tank sinks, isn't it?

Posted by: Noise above Law at November 25, 2009 10:09 PM

Curious: That's what happens when small tries to take on big in any walk of life. No big surprise their.

"Their???" Internet dolts, arise!! Your leader calls.

Posted by: Down boy, down at November 30, 2009 9:04 AM

"'Their???' Internet dolts, arise!! Your leader calls."

Is that the best that yue can do?

Yawn .....

Posted by: Curious at November 30, 2009 11:05 AM

Ah, the question, my barely literate friend, is not whether it's the best I can do. The question is whether your sorry display of English is the best you can do. Apparently it is, as it just keeps getting worse. "Their??"

And you make jokes about Down's individuals. Now there is the real joke of the week.

Posted by: Down boy, down at November 30, 2009 9:49 PM

"the question ... is not whether it's the best I can do."

That is the question -- regardless whether you want to avoid it or not.

In case you haven't noticed, this is a patent blog, not a grammah or spellun blog. If you are uncomfortable writing about patent issues, just say so.

Since you have not responded to my points, I'll assume that you have conceded them all to me -- in which case, this will be my last post on this issue.

Posted by: Curious at December 2, 2009 7:54 AM