IBM moves to eliminate patent trolls

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

IBM has voiced its support for the "swift passage" of patent reform legislation. According to Big Blue, the Patent Reform Act of 2009 will help bolster US competitiveness in the global economy and stimulate economic growth.

The legislation - which is pending before the US Senate - was formulated to help defendants better counter infringement allegations and limit subsequent damages.

"Technology and the nature of innovation have changed dramatically over the last half-century, but our patent laws have not been significantly updated," said IBM spokesman Robert Weber. "We congratulate Secretary Locke and the [Obama] Administration for their leadership in supporting [the Act] and we urge swift enactment of the patent reform legislation."

IBM patent reform act

Weber explained that patent reform is likely to reduce "unproductive" litigation and "better harmonize" the US patent system with those of other countries.

"The debate over patent reform has been both lengthy and constructive, but now it is time to act. Chairman Leahy and other senators have crafted a compromise that enjoys broad support and deserves prompt passage," added Weber.

Although major corporations such as IBM have vocally supported patent reform, smaller tech companies and drug manufacturers have expressed concern that lowering damage awards will serve only to increase infringement offenses.

Nevertheless, swift passage of patent reform legislation would undoubtedly benefit Big Blue, which is currently engaged in a number of lawsuits for allegedly infringing:

A network security patent.
A component "testing" system.
DRAM microprocessor and ASIC product patents.
A modular computer system.
A CPU execution patent.
Multimedia inspection database system.