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IBM tries to come up with creative ways to help companies jump on the outsourcing train.

IBM has a new idea for business software, which it feels is unique enough that it deserves a patent.  The computer industry giant has filed application for a patent, which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is currently mulling over.  IBM seeks to patent "Outsourcing of Services", which is briefly defined as a "method for identifying human-resource work content to outsource offshore of an organization". 

The patent application, which can be found here, is an attempt to patent the use of computer software to algorithmically analyze a workforce and the various workloads on a company and determine which parts should be cut and outsourced.

The patent application was filed July 12, 2007.

IBM is also seeking to patent a software system for "matching a knowledge worker" with a corporate entity via means including "experience levels, salary, geographic location, job starting date and duration, and industry sector".  The patent application can be viewed here.  The patent has a figure attached which demonstrates its software, which looks like a small calculator.  The figure shows an example of the device displaying the lower costs of dealing with IGSI (Indian) professionals.  IGSI stands for IBM Global Services, India.  The device also seems to be closely connected to outsourcing jobs, as its main purpose appears to be demonstrating to employers that labor can be found far cheaper in non-U.S. locations.

Finally, IBM has at least one more patent in the works.  They currently have an application for a patent for a "System and method of using speech recognition at call centers to improve their efficiency and customer satisfaction".  This application attempts to patent a system for accent reduction in international workers.  The patent's language clearly indicates that it is targeted for situations such as call centers, where a large number of non-native English speakers will be answering calls. 

The patent first propose to electronically transcribe and then provide a digital voice for the caller.  In order to do this IBM proposes using its text transcription system, IBM ViaScribe, developed for hearing-impaired individuals.  Finally, the patent also suggests the speaker take accent reduction classes, such as the programs which IBM offers.

Some may be troubled by the developments that IBM's patents are contributing to the trend of outsourcing technology jobs outside the U.S.  They should not be surprised, however, with the overly broad scope of the applications or of the fact that the applications appear to be for existing or common sense practices. 

There is a long history of tech patents with overly broad language.  There have also been many patents which attempted to patent a well-defined existing technology that already had become common-place in an industry, which the applier was not necessarily the first to develop.  A famous example is Microsoft's 2004 successful attempt to patent the "double-click" (note--their patent only applied to PowerPCs).



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RE: All IBM has to do ....
By Kougar on 10/2/2007 2:34:09 AM , Rating: 3
Tell that to the last several rounds of layoffs at Circuit City, they fired all of their most senior level staff just because they made $3 or less more per hour than an arbitrarily set pay cap of $15. Most of those employees had been there for years. They are one of many examples out there: http://www.dailytech.com/Circuit+City+Fires+3400+O...

The hard worker is only taken advantage of in the typical blue collar or service job. Work long and hard enough, and you will be fired and replaced with a new employee they only have to pay a fraction of your paycheck to.


RE: All IBM has to do ....
By elpresidente2075 on 10/2/2007 10:37:18 AM , Rating: 2
I work as an outside rep at a local Circuit City. The problem with that company is that it's trying to go bankrupt so that some CEO or something can run away with a TON of money and leave the company in shambles. Word on the street is that the store I work in will be going completely out of business within 24 months.

An interesting thing about Circuit City I've noticed: Everyone who works there is either 2-3 weeks from quitting or has just been hired. Since there's been a hiring freeze at that store, there's a lot less of the latter and many more of the former. That is on top of the constant firings for not meeting arbitrarily high numbers, despite being the best salespeople in whoever's respective department.

This is a perfect example of my new slogan after being in the game for several years: Retail Sucks.


"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken











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