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

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – If you can’t beat patent trolls, why not join them?

IBM researchers, including one based in RTP, say they have developed a proprietary means of protecting intellectual property. Part of the process is an automated “defense: module designed to alert IP holders when a possible infringement has occurred.

Patent trolls make a nice living by literally trolling for possible IP violations. Other companies, meanwhile, spend millions in defending themselves against patent suits. For example, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is on a patent suit filing binge. And smart phone developers are engaged in an all-out war.

Wolfgang Gruener, writing at Conceivably Tech, first reported on IBM’s concept a day after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published the Big Blue filing Dec. 30.

Gruener calls the plan “the ultimate patent troll patent: Get sued when you file a patent.”

This patent concept isn’t part of IBM’s “Smarter Planet” campaign, but it shows how much Big Blue values invention – and self-protection.

Here’s the abstract from the filing:

“Intellectual Property Component Business Model for Client Services”

“An embodiment of the invention provides a computerized system for providing an IP framework, including a storage component, a user interface, and a reporting module.

“The storage component includes a collection of database tables having a capability field and keyword field.

“The database tables include data from a strategic planning computer module, an invent computer module, an IP creation computer module, an IP administration computer module, a defend computer module, an influence computer module, and a capitalize computer module.

“The user interface receives as input, an invention disclosure and/or a configuration file for an IP capability.

“The reporting module processes the input in the storage component and produces the IP framework.”

(By the way, emphasis added for reporting module.)

Researchers listed on the filing include:

  • Brian O’Connell, RTP
  • Deborah Dunagan, Gainesville, Ga.
  • Rick Hamilton, Charlottesville, Va.
  • Arvin Patel, Sunnyvale, Calif.
  • Keith Walker, Austin, Texas

Read the full application here.

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