Steve Lohr reports that IBM is open sourcing 500 patents.
John Kelly, the senior vice president for technology and intellectual property, called the patent contribution "the beginning of a new era in how I.B.M. will manage intellectual property."
Perhaps for more than just IBM -- competitors may have to follow, um, suit. While 500 patents is a drop in the bucket for the largest portfolio (40k), this is a significant move and part of a broader strategy to commoditize their inputs, pool risk, leverage a lead in services and change the game.
"This is exciting," said Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Stanford Law School and founder of the school's Center for Internet and Society. "It is I.B.M. making good on its commitment to encourage a different kind of software development and recognizing the burden that patents can impose."
Amazing things happen when self interest is in group interest.
UPDATE: This post is cited in a really good Internet News story.