The tens of thousands of inventions that have come out of IBM throughout its 100-year history—from FORTRAN to relational databases to the Universal Product Code—have truly transformed the world in which we live. From Herman Hollerith’s tabulating machine, to Aquasar, the hot water-cooled supercomputer announced in 2010, IBM has continuously discovered innovative ways to approach technology and services.
Today, IBM is striving to achieve a balance between protecting intellectual property and fostering collaborative forms of value creation. One way the company is achieving this balance is through participation in the Eco-Patent Commons. IBM has contributed more than 500 patents to the Eco-Patent Commons, a portfolio of patents that focus on environmental matters and innovations in manufacturing or business processes where the solution provides an environmental benefit.
IBM has also worked in collaboration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and other companies to establish the Peer-to-Patent project. This online system aims to improve the quality of issued patents by enabling the public to review qualified patent applications through an open process. Anyone can supply information relevant to assessing the claims of pending patent applications.
As the U.S. patent leader for 18 years, and an innovator for more than 100, IBM has established itself as a source of innovative solutions that can transform the way we live and work.
"This is exciting," said Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Stanford Law School and founder of the school's Center for Internet and Society. "It is IBM making good on its commitment to encourage a different kind of software development and recognizing the burden that patents can impose."
"Innovation to address environmental issues will require both the application of technology as well as new models for sharing intellectual property among companies in different industries. As the leader in U.S. patents for 15 consecutive years, with 3,125 patents issued in 2007, IBM is excited to bring its patent resources to bear in service of the environment. In addition to enabling new players to engage in protecting the environment, the free exchange of valuable intellectual property will accelerate work on the next level of environmental challenges. We strongly urge other companies to contribute to the Eco-Patent Commons."
World Business Council for Sustainable Development press release2008