RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – This is not a joke. IBM tried to patent its process for offshoring jobs.

In U.S. Patent Application 20090083107, which was published March 30, Big Blue said its strategy (“method and system for strategic global resource sourcing”) deserved protection. In fact, IBM cited five people as “inventors” of the system.

"An important challenge in shifting to globally integrated enterprises is planning the location and capacity of the global workforce," IBM’s submitters wrote.

"There is a need to provide a robust and reusable sourcing template to identify new/expand existing global resource pools, analyze trade-off between qualitative and quantitative aspects across multiple global locations and model the global nature of resource sourcing. While resource sourcing involves both qualitative and quantitative aspects, existing methods do not adequately consider both aspects in combination. For example, existing methods may consider both qualitative and quantitative aspects of sourcing, but they may be evaluated using two sets of metrics which are not readily comparable. In contrast, this invention allows decision makers to quantitatively explore trade-offs between one or more qualitative factors, or between qualitative and quantitative factors. Therefore, this invention provides a more effective method for making resource sourcing decisions. "

When the U.S. Patent Office officially published the application, an IBM spokesperson called a New York newspaper that first reported the story and said it was all a mistake..

The patent “was filed in error and will be withdrawn,” IBM spokesman Steve Malkiewicz told Christine Young of the Times herald-Record newspaper.

Here’s in the filing:

“A computer implemented method for determining a global resource sourcing strategy for an organization over one or more time periods, comprising:incorporating concurrently a plurality of qualitative and quantitative attributes that influence performance of sourcing strategy with respect to one or more quantitative measures; quantifying an impact of said qualitative attributes using said one or more quantitative measures; and optimizing the sourcing strategy with respect to said one or more quantitative measures subject to one or more constraints.”

Even though IBM submitted the paperwork nearly a year and a half ago, the fact that the application was published just as Big Blue was laying off thousands of workers in the U.S. has further inflamed employees who fear getting the ax.

Making matters worse is that IBM often has employees train overseas workers to take over their jobs. IBM also offers U.S. workers the opportunity to mover overseas if they want to keep their job – but at India, China, Brazil or Russia or you-name-the-country wages.

For your information, here are the 20 “claims” IBM submitted:

1. A computer implemented method for determining a global resource sourcing strategy for an organization over one or more time periods, comprising:incorporating concurrently a plurality of qualitative and quantitative attributes that influence performance of sourcing strategy with respect to one or more quantitative measures; quantifying an impact of said qualitative attributes using said one or more quantitative measures; and optimizing the sourcing strategy with respect to said one or more quantitative measures subject to one or more constraints.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein said one or more quantitative measures include one or more numerical values that can be correlated to the sourcing strategy.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein said qualitative attribute include one or more attributes that can be ranked to model a quality level for the sourcing strategy.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the sourcing strategy is for human resource planning for an organization.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein one or more of said plurality of qualitative and quantitative attributes are determined from human resource information, a common database with quantitative, qualitative and availability data, or one or more business units, or combinations thereof.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of optimizing outputs sourcing recommendations.

7. The method for claim 1, wherein the step of optimizing includes: modeling a total cost using fixed and variable costs on moves and staffing levels; modeling one or more constraints; modeling one or more incentives and preferences; and using a continuous, discrete or mixed continuous and discrete mathematical program.

8. A system for determining a global resource sourcing strategy for an organization over one or more time periods, comprising: a computer processor operable to incorporate concurrently a plurality of qualitative and quantitative attributes that influence performance of sourcing strategy with respect to one or more quantitative measures, the computer processor further operable to quantify an impact of said qualitative attributes using said one or more quantitative measures; and an optimizer module operable to optimize the sourcing strategy with respect to said one or more quantitative measures subject to one or more constraints.

9. The system of claim 8, wherein the computer processor is further operable to model a total cost using fixed and variable costs on moves and staffing, model one or more constraints and model one or more incentives and preferences.

10. The system of claim 9, wherein the optimizer module uses a continuous, discrete or mixed continuous and discrete mathematical program.

11. The system of claim 8, wherein said one or more quantitative measures include one or more numerical values that can be correlated to the sourcing strategy.

12. The system of claim 8, wherein said qualitative attribute include one or more attributes that can be ranked to model a quality level for the sourcing strategy.

13. The system of claim 8, wherein the sourcing strategy is for human resource planning for an organization.

14. The system of claim 8, wherein one or more of said plurality of qualitative and quantitative attributes are determined from human resource information, a common database with quantitative, qualitative and availability data, or one or more business units, or combinations thereof.

15. The system of claim 8, wherein the step of optimizing outputs sourcing recommendations.

16. A program storage device readable by a machine, tangibly embodying a program of instructions executable by the machine to perform a method of determining a global resource sourcing strategy for an organization over one or more time periods, comprising: incorporating concurrently a plurality of qualitative and quantitative attributes that influence performance of sourcing strategy with respect to one or more quantitative measures; quantifying an impact of said qualitative attributes using said one or more quantitative measures; and optimizing the sourcing strategy with respect to said one or more quantitative measures subject to one or more constraints.

17. The program storage device of claim 16, wherein said one or more quantitative measures include one or more numerical values that can be correlated to the sourcing strategy.

18. The program storage device of claim 16, wherein said qualitative attribute include one or more attributes that can be ranked to model a quality level for the sourcing strategy.

19. The program storage device of claim 16, wherein the sourcing strategy is for human resource planning for an organization

20. The program storage device of claim 16, wherein one or more of said plurality of qualitative and quantitative attributes are determined from human resource information, a common database with quantitative, qualitative and availability data, or one or more business units, or combinations thereof.