Why Is IBM Looking to Own the Cloud?

IP News and Information

We’ve discussed the cloud before, including how dozens of companies, both large and small, continue to make a push to the cloud, especially large tech companies that almost appear to be trying to take over the cloud. Cloud computing is the wave of the future as more and more companies move their computer data to secured networks stored in remote locations. On a smaller scale, many individuals are also storing their data, including documents, photos and videos on the proverbial cloud. With so much emphasis on cloud computing it’s no wonder that companies like IBM are looking to dominate the cloud and use it to “rain” on everyone’s parade.

Patents R Us

It’s no secret that IBM is constantly looking to acquire patents at the same time that it continues to produce it’s own new IP. IBM is one of the largest patent holders in the United States and it uses those patents to its advantage without hesitation. By monetizing its patents, IBM has been able to increase its annual revenue by $1 billion. However, reports vary and some estimate that the company might make as much $2 billion annually from monetizing its IP portfolio. That is just from licensing its patents to other companies and collecting royalties on those licenses. Another reason IBM collects so many patents is to help fight off would-be patent trolls. By securing such a wide range of IP, IBM can prevent these so-called patent trolls from getting ownership of patents and pursing frivolous lawsuits against IBM and its allies.

Cloud Patents Keep Streaming In

Lately, IBM has been collecting a lot of patents associated with cloud technologies and processes. In fact, over just the last year and a half the company has been granted 1,200 cloud-related patents. IBM is no stranger to being on the forefront of securing patents in emerging technologies and cloud technology is no different. However, contrary to its normal mode of operation, it looks like as far as the cloud is concerned, IBM is taking a different approach with its patent monetization. It looks as though the company plans to take a less aggressive approach with its cloud patents and instead use a more defensive approach. To that end, IBM has also been more willing to cross-license its patents to other companies to help fight off claims from its rivals, especially tech allies and partners.

Patent Monetization Is Real

The list of companies that have licensed patents from IBM includes some major players in the tech industry, including Google, which licensed about 2,400 patents from IBM in 2011 and 2012 alone. Additionally, Twitter acquired nearly 1,000 patents from IBM last year for a reported $36 million and Facebook reportedly paid $83 million to acquire about 700 patents from the company in 2012. Whether it’s an aggressive or defensive form of monetization, IBM is making a significant amount of money annually just from its intellectual property.

Cloudy Future Offers Bright Forecast

It remains to be seen how IBM will utilize its growing portfolio of cloud-related patents, but it’s certain the company will continue to take advantage of all of its monetization opportunities, both large and small.