Wednesday, October 3, 2007

IBM did not patent the checkbox

Today, Slashdot has the headline "IBM Patents the Checkbox"

I have not read this patent and am not going to. However, I can say with certainty that this statement is false. With allowance rates dropping below 50%, software patents having at least a second set of eyes review, and knowing that checkboxes themselves have likely been around since Pliny the Elder was using parchment, there is no need to check the veracity of this statement.

So why is this important to IP Managers? Engineers.

Engineers read Slashdot. There are engineers - some posting to that site and the like - who feel that patents stifle innovation, and examples of "obvious to them" patents lessen their enthusiasm for generating IP for the company. With a significant portion of companies values and valuations tied to the quality of their intellectual property, this is the opposite of the situation you want.

Too many instances where an inventor was able to protect their hard work and creativity through the patent system gets lost in headlines like these. Hopefully any IP bloggers reading this will post at least one instance of the "system" encouraging innovation in the coming weeks. Maybe we'll catch a few slashdot readers along the way.

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