Earlier this month, we talked about IBM's pledge to provide the methods behind 500 of its patents to anyone that wants to use them, at no charge, with no fear of legal repercussions. (My original post about "IBM's patent surprise" is here.)
AMR Research's J. Paul Kirby has just weighed in on IBM's 500 patents announcement. His take: "IBMs promise makes it harder for Microsoft and Sunto monetize Web services transactions. It is also a further signal thatanyone wanting to handicap open source through litigation will have toget through IBM first."
Kirby goes on to say that "by making these particular patents available for free use through opensource, IBM is suggesting its answer: Web services transactions shouldbe free. This aligns closely with the position of the primary Webstandards body, the W3C consortium, which has a preference forroyalty-free use of technology. If the W3C finds favor with IBMs plan,it will be much harder for Sun and Microsoft to pick the other side."
IBM may have other motives for the patent release as well, of course. But the pledge is very much a breath of fresh air. Let's hope other industry players follow suit.