IBM announced plans to donate 500 patents for free use by software developers. This event marks a major shift of intellectual property strategy for world's top computer maker and a challenge for the high-tech industry.
Jim Stallings, IBM's vice president in charge of intellectual property, said in an interview that the move was meant to encourage other companies to unlock patent portfolios in order to spur technological innovation.
"This represents by far the largest pledge of patents in U.S. history," IBM said in a statement to be issued on Tuesday. "You can use them and grow and innovate (and)...to build something new," Stallings said in remarks aimed at developers.