Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kappos, IBM options, and the hearing for 29 July 09

The TechDailyDose reported:

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy has released the committee's completed questionnaire pertaining to David Kappos, President Obama's pick for Patent and Trademark Office director, which could signal that his confirmation hearing is around the corner.

Of money ties to IBM: According to the form, he owns vested IBM options valued at approximately $147,000 and those options would be sold within 90 days of his appointment as the PTO's top dog. He also owns unvested IBM options and restricted stock valued at about $1.5 million.

The confirmation hearing is scheduled for July 29.

In her WSJ article on July 22, Amy Schatz wrote: Some intellectual-property bloggers have criticized him [Kappos] for publicly supporting better-quality patents even as IBM has filed some applications they consider questionable. IBM declined to comment.

In that context, "intellectual-property bloggers" might be deemed to be inconsequential, wild-eyed loonies, whose comments were beneath IBM's dignity for response. One thing Schatz didn't mention was IBM's OWN statements about one of those very questionable patent applications; from a previous IPBiz post:

The same day the Times Herald-Record reported IBM had applied to patent a computerized system to help businesses outsource offshore jobs while maximizing government tax breaks, Big Blue did an about-face.

The application "was filed in error and will be withdrawn," IBM spokesman Steve Malkiewicz said Monday, 30 March 09.


Some 17 months ago, IBM abruptly withdrew a similar application immediately after it was made public.

"A method for identifying human-resource work content to outsource offshore of an organization," was submitted for a patent in January 2006.

IBM withdrew the application 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.


Malkiewicz said the filing would be withdrawn because it "is contrary to our patent policy on business methods."

So, Amy, it's not just the crazy bloggers who have identified problems with IBM filings. IBM has identified problems, too. But you didn't write about that.

Incidentally, Schatz did not respond to my earlier email. As a point to Joff Wild at the IAM Blog, one notes that while journalists expect an immediate response from patent attorneys when the journalists are seeking information, the response of journalist TO inquiring patent attorneys is glacial.


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