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.