IBM, Pitney-Bowes, others give free green patents

WASHINGTON Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:44pm EST

A view of the IBM facility outside Boulder, Colorado October 18, 2006. IBM, Pitney Bowes and other major companies will allow free use of 31 patents designed to reduce pollution, the pro-ecology World Business Council for Sustainable Development announced on Monday. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

A view of the IBM facility outside Boulder, Colorado October 18, 2006. IBM, Pitney Bowes and other major companies will allow free use of 31 patents designed to reduce pollution, the pro-ecology World Business Council for Sustainable Development announced on Monday.

Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - International Business Machines Corp, Pitney Bowes Inc and other major companies will allow free use of 31 patents designed to reduce pollution, the pro-ecology World Business Council for Sustainable Development announced on Monday.

IBM, which is spearheading the plan, is donating 27 patents to the Eco-Patent Commons, which will be maintained by the World Business Council.

One of the patents is for a cardboard packaging that replaces styrofoam peanuts.

"It's strong enough to protect a sensitive instrument but lighter and takes up less space," said IBM spokesman Steven Malkiewicz. "It's clearly more economical if you look at the bigger picture."

IBM has a huge patent portfolio, with 3,148 granted last year alone, according to IFI Patent Intelligence.

Pitney Bowes gave two patents. One extends the life of electronic scales to keep them out of landfills while the other is an ink jet technology that economizes on ink, said spokesman Matt Broder.

Pitney Bowes was looking at its 3,400 patents to see if others could be donated. "We've got a huge patent portfolio. These were easy to pick off the shelf," he said.

Sony and Nokia each donated one patent, said the business council.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz, editing by Richard Chang)

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