Saturday, April 04, 2009

IAM on IBM's Kappos, not touching the political or patent pulse?

Of the possibility of Kappos as USPTO Director, IAM wrote:

That said, I would be very intrigued to see the reaction if Kappos gets the nod. IBM has spent the last few years courting the open source community. Back in 2007 Kappos himself proposed what he termed the European Interoperability Patent - a right granted to applicants on the basis that it would be freely available for others to use on payment of a reasonable royalty. More recently, Kappos co-wrote Big Blue's amicus brief in the Bilski appeal, in which he basically came out against most types of business method patent; while IBM's concerns about patent quality have Kappos's fingerprints all over them.

IAM made no mention of the IBM meltdown surrounding published US application 20090083107, titled METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR STRATEGIC GLOBAL RESOURCE SOURCING, which is a business method patent about outsourcing nor mention of the flap over IBM's recent termination of numerous US workers. A NBC Nightly News story on 3 April 09 discussed how an IBM Fishkill employee [Frederic (Rick) Clark] was offered the opportunity to keep his job, in India at the prevailing salary in India [20 to 25% of US].

On the layoffs themselves, from the Times Herald-Record online:

IBM fired some 5,000 U.S. workers Thursday [26 March 09] — including employees at IBM Sterling Forest in Tuxedo and IBM Poughkeepsie.

One by one, thousands of IBM workers entered managers' offices with a sense of dread to learn if they'd get the ax.

At Sterling Forest, which had been spared from a wave of firings earlier this year, an employee described the mood as grim and the building whisper quiet.

Big Blue is shifting work to India, where labor and production costs are significantly lower.

Thus, the "timing" of the patent application was incredibly poor, apart from the lack of quality in this business method application, all problems which have to placed at Kappos' door.

While Joff Wild was writing on 3 April 09 that IBM's concerns about patent quality have Kappos's fingerprints all over them, Joff neglected to mention the story by Christine Young titled IBM drops patent application for outsourcing offshore jobs which included

*** IBM withdrew [an earlier] application [on outsourcing] in October 2007, saying it lacked "substantial technical content."

***At that point, though, the second application had already been filed — in September 2007. But it was not made public until yesterday — only days after IBM reportedly fired thousands of American workers to shift their jobs to India. (...)
[ IBM spokesman Steve ] Malkiewicz said the filing would be withdrawn because it "is contrary to our patent policy on business methods."

While Joff rambles on about IBM and patent quality, IBM has already admitted to filing low quality patent applications on business methods. Where has Joff Wild been while this was happening?

Of both IBM outsourcing applications, see
IBM's published patent application 20090083107 on outsourcing

***to NBC:

Of the piece on the economy (including mention of IBM's Rick Clark), note an irony in that IBM just had a patent application on outsourcing [20090083107, titled METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR STRATEGIC GLOBAL RESOURCE SOURCING ], which IBM now plans to withdraw.

***Of a different IP matter involving IBM (the Sun business), IAM wrote in a post titled It's the IP, stupid -->

On Thursday the New York Times reported that 100 IBM lawyers were holed up in a hotel in Silicon Valley poring over the Sun intellectual property portfolio.

and then quoted Andrew Watson:

Imagine the IP smart acquirer coming up with a list of patents that appear to be infringed by the target company’s products.

If there's logical coherence, then the IBM lawyers would have been matching Sun's products to IBM patents, not poring over Sun's IP portfolio.

IAM concluded:

Now, I don't know if something similar to this scenario is being played out now, but I do know that IBM is an "IP smart acquirer" and I also note that the Sun share price is heading south quickly as news of the deal's collapse is absorbed. Is IBM using IP and potential concerns about what is in Sun's portfolio to leverage a lower price for the acquisition? I suppose we will find out soon enough.


Perhaps there weren't enough outsourcing applications in Sun's portfolio... Or ask Rick Clark "where" IBM is headed?


Blogger Rick Clark said...

I'll be glad to tell you where I think IBM is heading. Contact me anytime.

6:38 AM  

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