Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

IBM, Samsung Fight Over Patent Leadership in the U.S.

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 27 comments

We tend to be amazed by the number of patents that are being acquired by young companies, such as Google, in an effort to protect themselves from lawsuits and the bullying of older corporations.

As much as those old businesses claim that their patents are used to protect their intellectual property and innovative spirit, it is often overlooked that patents have become a huge business across the planet.

For example, Microsoft recently said that it spent nearly $4.5 billion for license fees over the last decade, but it has also put 1133 license agreements in place to give licenses to its patents - and we know that Microsoft will be raking in more than $1 billion from Android vendors in the near future - annually.

IBM and Samsung are IT industry patent giants. No other company files for nearly as many patents as those two companies - and no other company gets as many patents granted as those two. At least as far as my personal records go, IBM just hit a new record high of patents granted; IBM received confirmation of a staggering 265 patents in the past week alone. Since August 1, IBM was granted the rights to 1975 patents.

However, Samsung was able to top that result. Samsung received 270 patents last week, which is the highest of any tech company over the past 6 years - at least as far as my records go. Since August 1, Samsung got 2324 new patents from the USPTO. Both IBM and Samsung are well on their way to exceed the number of the patents they received in 2010 - when IBM got 5896 and Samsung 4551. For this year, both IBM and Samsung have been granted more than 6000 patents already. 2011 is likely to be the first year in which IBM could have to surrender its patent leadership to a foreign company. So far, IBM has stood on top of the ranking since 1982.

Display 27 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    jsc , November 10, 2011 11:01 AM
    greghomeI wonder how many Apple patents have IBM and Samsung violated

    I wonder how many IBM and Samsung patents have Apple violated. :more sarcasm:
Other Comments
  • 13 Hide
    jsc , November 10, 2011 11:01 AM
    greghomeI wonder how many Apple patents have IBM and Samsung violated

    I wonder how many IBM and Samsung patents have Apple violated. :more sarcasm:
  • 3 Hide
    u_u- , November 10, 2011 11:06 AM
    When are these patents going to expire?
  • 2 Hide
    kartu , November 10, 2011 11:57 AM
    I wonder why you say "worldwide". So far it's been only US (uhm, and poor Australia, that was forced to adopt US patent system) when you can patent crazy stuff and Germany, where you have judges that can ban product since it is also rectangular and has rounded corners.
  • 0 Hide
    kartu , November 10, 2011 11:59 AM
    jscI wonder how many IBM and Samsung patents have Apple violated. :more sarcasm:

    "multitouch" idea and "rectangular shape with rounded corners" vs antennas, 3G and stuff?

    And your point is?
  • 0 Hide
    alyoshka , November 10, 2011 12:13 PM
    I'm patenting me............
  • 4 Hide
    ojas , November 10, 2011 12:38 PM
    yes, wolfgang. apple's an angel, we get it.
  • 3 Hide
    Soul_keeper , November 10, 2011 1:01 PM
    chances are everything has been patented atleast 10 times ...
    just a matter of who has the money/time to make the courts agree with them
  • -1 Hide
    feeddagoat , November 10, 2011 1:34 PM
    I wonder how many of these patients are actually designed by these companies rather than just being ideas that they'll hold onto until a true inventive, inovative company comes along to actually build the product only to be sued into oblivion by these "young" companies who rested on their laurels and are sliding into obscurity like AOL, yahoo, HP etc.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , November 10, 2011 2:07 PM
    @__-_-_-__

    "patent trolls: part II - the 2 giants"

    you'll be hard pressed to find an innovative or software patent in Samsung's port folio, these patents were not acquired through acquisition but rather from their own research and development, so how you figure they were patent trolling? (not all patents are incomplete vague concepts, some actually have some substance to them)
  • 0 Hide
    sixdegree , November 10, 2011 3:44 PM
    If acquiring patents is a huge deal for these company, why don't one of them patent the way company acquire patents itself?
  • 2 Hide
    back_by_demand , November 10, 2011 4:18 PM
    Quote:
    Microsoft recently said that it spent nearly $4.5 billion for license fees over the last decade, but it has also put 1133 license agreements in place to give licenses to its patents

    Some might say that Microsoft is happy to let people use its R&D work be proliferated by anyone as long as they get adequately compensated for their work, this allows the consumer (ie, you and me) to get the maximum benefit.

    Other companies are not interested in licensing and would rather litigate to the death, file injunctions and try to destroy the competition ... 3 guesses who I am refering to (and the first 2 don't count).

    As far as calling IBM a patent troll, do some research, the 21st century was built on things that IBM invented, like the hard drive and the bar code.
  • 4 Hide
    lockhrt999 , November 10, 2011 4:42 PM
    Now let's sue Apple.
  • 6 Hide
    Yoder54 , November 10, 2011 6:12 PM
    MakeTheirOwnStuff"you'll be hard pressed to find an innovative or software patent in Samsung's port folio, these patents were not acquired through acquisition but rather from their own research and development, so how you figure they were patent trolling? (not all patents are incomplete vague concepts, some actually have some substance to them)


    Your implication is that IBM is not worthy of it's patents. IBM not only patent's software, but they also have their hands in super computers, servers, nano-technology, data storage, AI, etc. These companies have very little in common: Samsung...consumer electronics, IBM...computer technology. Finally, you never see IBM playing these patent legal games like MS, Apple, Samsung, Google, etc. IBM is a high-class corporation that stands far above the rest.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , November 10, 2011 6:54 PM
    @feeddagoat

    Samsung and IBM are the true innovative companies, unlike Apple. Apple has a paltry patent portfolio that they themselves created, and most of the patents Apple own are purchased.

    Samsung and IBM also purchase patents too, but the amount of inventions they create and develop on their own is astronomically more than almost every other company, let alone Apple who would look like a speck in the universe of self inventions.

    @yoder
    I don't know where you got the idea that MakeTheirOwnStuff was implying IBM is not worthy of its patents. He was only talking about Samsung without any kind of reference to IBM. In fact, I think he would agree with you that IBM is a high class corporation, since that's what he was saying about Samsung too. Samsung has been forced to play these legal games recently because Apple, the real patent troll, has gone on the aggressive. Should Samsung just roll over then? I don't think so. If someone was attacking IBM you would say it would be wrong of them to protect themselves with their own arsenal of patents.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , November 10, 2011 7:44 PM
    In my last sentence I meant to say

    If someone was attacking IBM would you say it would be wrong of them to protect themselves with their own arsenal of patents?
  • 3 Hide
    back_by_demand , November 10, 2011 8:09 PM
    steve11200In my last sentence I meant to sayIf someone was attacking IBM would you say it would be wrong of them to protect themselves with their own arsenal of patents?

    They wouldn't need to, no one would steal an IBM patent and try to litigate their way out of it because it is so blindly obvious that IBM invented whatever it was that they would be lucky not to serve 60 days in the pen for contempt of court.
    IBM invents things, then patents it, then develops it, then pushes it out into the world, then you use it every day and don't even know.
    And better still, they have no problem in taking some of these things that they have spent hard cash on and simply giving them away, like this:-
    http://www.itnews.com/development-platforms/38788/ibm-open-sources-messaging-client-embedded-devices
    So sensors that are all over bridges and pipelines to predict faults and detect flaws, their communications protocol was open-sourced, how can something so ubiquitous and massively useful, not to mention valuable, simply be given away?

    Honestly, if Google, Microsoft and Apple did with their IP what IBM has done with theirs in the last 20 years we could have been colonising new planets by now.
  • 0 Hide
    PreferLinux , November 10, 2011 8:37 PM
    back_by_demandSome might say that Microsoft is happy to let people use its R&D work be proliferated by anyone as long as they get adequately compensated for their work, this allows the consumer (ie, you and me) to get the maximum benefit.Other companies are not interested in licensing and would rather litigate to the death, file injunctions and try to destroy the competition ... 3 guesses who I am refering to (and the first 2 don't count).As far as calling IBM a patent troll, do some research, the 21st century was built on things that IBM invented, like the hard drive and the bar code.

    The reason is probably that they are officially a monopoly, so if they didn't it would probably be an anti-trust issue.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , November 10, 2011 9:37 PM
    PreferLinuxThe reason is probably that they are officially a monopoly, so if they didn't it would probably be an anti-trust issue.

    Some companies only get to be viewed as monopolies because they are good at what they do and no one else comes close.
    If there were 10 companies that sold hamburgers and 9 were made with slaughter room floor scrapings and 1 was made with prime fillet steak mince, all were the same price, that one company would have a total monopoly.
    If IBM has any kind of monopoly it isn't being investigated because it hasn't held anyone back or been anti-competative, it's just that the competition simply isn't good enough.
  • 0 Hide
    digiex , November 11, 2011 12:50 AM
    Quote:
    IBM and Samsung are IT industry patent giants. No other company files for nearly as many patents as those two companies - and no other company gets as many patents granted as those two.


    And yet Samsung got sued by crApple and loose in some courtrooms.
  • 0 Hide
    vaughn2k , November 11, 2011 1:32 AM
    u_u-When are these patents going to expire?

    25 years... but it is renewable for another 15 to 20 years.
Display more comments
Tom’s guide in the world
  • Germany
  • France
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • UK
Follow Tom’s guide
Subscribe to our newsletter