Patent Office considers rules to make patent holdings more visible

IBM marked its 20th year as the world leader in patents in 2012, tallying 6,478 completed applications -- thousands more than rivals Google and Apple, according to the U.S. Patent Office, which is also moving to make companies' patent portfolios more transparent. The agency, which wants to prevent so-called "trolling" companies from disguising their holdings, has scheduled a discussion for today on new rules that would make it tougher for companies to hide their portfolios and then sue technology companies for patent violations. Also on the patent front, Ericsson sold more than 2,400 patents to Unwired Planet, which is fighting legal battles with Google, Apple and Research In Motion.

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