IBM Corp. and Internet Capital Group are forming a new company that will create an online marketplace for buyers and sellers of intellectual property, the companies said Wednesday.
The Chicago-based company has acquired IBM's existing Intellectual Property Network (IPN), and will use it as the foundation for an online marketplace, which will allow users to search, analyze, buy, sell, and license millions of patents and other intellectual property across a variety of industries.
During a transition period, the network will continue to be accessible at www.patents.ibm.com, and will later adopt a new URL.
In the future, the company, whose name has not been revealed, also plans to offer value-added services such as legal support, insurance, and escrow accounts via its new Web site.
"By tapping ICG's unparalleled operational expertise and support to build on the already established domain expertise of the IPN network, we're creating the Internet's first truly neutral marketplace for intellectual property," said Peter Vanderheyden, acting general manager of the new company, in a statement. "This new company is focused on building an online marketplace that transforms the intellectual property industry by bringing significant value to a growing and diverse network of buyers and suppliers."
The expanded site will launch in the third quarter, the companies said.
IBM plans to list more than 25,000 of its own patents on the site. The new company expected other technology providers to be active participants in the exchange, which will be open to any industry.
IBM's announcement comes less than a month after a dozen industry suppliers and OEMs led by Compaq Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. formed the High-Tech Exchange, which will result in the formation of an independent company that will run an exchange targeting the supply-chain community (see May 1 story).
At the time, IBM said it would form a separate exchange with nine unnamed companies, rather than join the effort led by Compaq and HP (see May 4 story). An IBM spokesman today declined to specify whether the new IP management company being created with ICG fits that description.