Patents covered by IBM's pledge include interfacing, storage management, multi-processing, database and data handling, human interfacing, image processing, security, software development, e-commerce, and network management.
The industry has been awkward, ham-handed, and inconsistent with handling patents. You may have seen David Berlind's post last week on Microsoft's patent moves. Last month, the industry let 39 Web services patents slip through its fingers in the Commerce One sell-off.
Let's hope IBM's example will inspire others to keep the lawyers out of the software development process.