IBM releases over 150 patents

IBM releases over 150 patents

Summary: The company makes wide-ranging patents on interoperability from SOAP to XML freely available


IBM is granting universal access to over 150 patents, mostly for web services, in what it believes is the biggest-ever release of this kind of intellectual property.

The announcement, made on Wednesday, is intended to defuse the growing tide of litigation around software IP, said IBM. The slice of IBM's vast intellectual property estate that has been released covers different components necessary for SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), which is used for exchanging XML-based messages across networks. The release also covers other XML protocols and components, as well as open document format (ODF) protocols and web services.

IBM's statement "pledged" to make the IP freely available for use by any company, to encourage the use of open standards and "discourage litigation". The standards involved are "typically under, or moving toward, stewardship by standards groups such as the World Wide Web Consortium and Oasis", IBM said.

Bob Sutor, IBM's vice president of open source and standards, said that IBM "is sending a message that innovation and industry growth happens in an open, collaborative atmosphere."

IBM stressed that the commitment applied to users or customers as much as to developers and distributors and the company hopes that it will encourage people to use IBM standards, rather than others that may be available.

Topics: Apps, Software Development


Colin Barker is based in London and is Senior Reporter for ZDNet. He has been writing about the IT business for some 30-plus years. He still enjoys it.

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  • Clarification from the author

    IBM has asked me to make it clear that the industry standards discussed here are "industry standards, not IBM standards". The way it currently reads, they say, "it appears as if IBM is trying to get everyone to use proprietary IBM standards".
    Well IBM is not and that should have been clear, but reading the headline they have something of a point. Apologies for any confusion. Colin Barker
    Colin Barker