Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of WRAL.com.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – No one needs to tweet the fact that IBM, as the global leader in patents, is always looking over the other side of the technology hill for a competitive edge. Just read today’s story in Local Tech Wire about molecular imaging at the greatest level of detail yet.

But Twitter fans are learning now that Big Blue engineers are seeking to patent technology that would enable users to “tweet” messages automatically as they watch TV.

If you really want your friends and Twitter followers to know you are watching the third hour of the nightly NCIS marathon on USA Network (Yep, I’m hooked), then IBM’s idea may be for you.

BaltTech reported Friday night about IBM’s Twitter device patent, something that over the weekend was hailed as the device couch (and PC) potatoes will love.

From , the abstract:

“A method, system and apparatus provide for automatic blogging of media viewing using an enhanced remote controller having networking capabilities that support social networking and blogging. The enhanced remote controller, suitable for use while viewing media programming and content, allows a viewer to autoblog about currently experienced media programming in real-time without having to resort to direct interaction with a computer to perform the autoblogging. The enhanced remote controller allows the viewer to both communicate with a blogging server, and thus to a blogging service, as well as to display responses to and from other bloggers with whom the viewer is communicating. These blog communications may be accomplished without the viewer having to leave the broadcast receiver of the television.

In its patent filing, IBM noted that “microblogging and social networking is increasing in popularity as a way for people to send one another short situational, status-oriented messages. This technology has the advantage of allowing people to communicate readily and quickly as events in their life occur.”

IBM wants to talk microblogging a step further with its “autoblog” proposal.

“Current microblogging and social networking approaches … do not allow for a viewer of a TV program, music or other media to readily autoblog in real-time about programs being viewed without use of a computer,” the IBM researchers wrote. “Thus, a viewer watching television or listening to music in the ordinary way, i.e. with the television screen and remote controller or with a music program controlled by a remote controller, cannot readily participate in current microblogging opportunities.”

So here is the essential paragraph about what IBM proposes:

“What is claimed is:

“1. A method for automatic blogging during media experiencing, comprising: a viewer selecting a media program to experience by use of a remote controller with networking capability, wherein the media program comprises at least one of television programming, movies, and music; upon the viewer wishing to send a blog posting to a blog while experiencing the media program, the viewer determining whether a tag to be included in the blog posting is to be a pre-existing tag or a custom tag with the blog posting, wherein the blog posting comprises program information about the media program useful to identify the media program; if the tag is to be a pre-existing tag, the viewer selecting the pre-existing tag from a plurality of pre-existing tags using the remote controller and if the tag is to be a custom tag, the viewer inputting text and/or audio to generate the custom tag using the remote controller; if a protocol provided by the remote controller to send the blog posting to a blogging server allows a snapshot of the media program to be included in the blog posting, the remote controller taking the snapshot of the media program and including the snapshot in the blog posting; if the protocol provided by the remote controller does not allow a snapshot of the media program to be included in the blog posting, not including a snapshot of the media program in the blog posting; the remote controller, without the user having direct interaction with a computer, sending the blog posting to the blogging server coupled to a blogging service; and the viewer receiving messages from one or more of the blogging service and one or more of a plurality of bloggers using the blogging service, wherein the viewer receives messages by using the remote controller.”

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