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Big Ideas from Big Blue?

by Rob Friesel

IBM announces it is more/less opening up approximately 500 patents to open source developers working in areas “such as image processing, human language processing, user interfaces and data handling.” An interesting part of this, I thought:

Over 30 patents were generated from within IBM Canada, many from IBM’s Toronto Software Lab.

Brings to mind the post-1984 “patent explosion” — in particular the deluge of patents from the late-1990s onward. With so many, is “just” releasing 500 enough? I’m inclined to think that it is right on. I know patents are cheap for big business but conventional wisdom tells me that IBM would rather just hold on to them in hopes that they pay off. But this seems a big act of faith in favor of open source.

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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