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>Thinking of bleeding off some profits from some of my more speculative investments and storing them in Big Blue. They produce huge amounts of research and large numbers of patents (the have been accused of being patent trolls/squatters). I am less certain about their ability to turn that research into profits<

I happen to work for IBM (since Feb 98) so here is my take:

#include disclaimer.h- what follows is my party line, not IBM's

Not all of the patents that IBM is granted come out of its (justly) famed labs. They have a very well educated bunch of employees doing work on development and production of systems for sale as well. There are probably a higher percentage of PhD's where I work than I have seen outside of academia, with the possible exception of the Mechanical Investing Board. If you had to come up with a new way of doing things or a new device in order to get your job done, they encourage (and pay) you to bring that to the attention of our patent lawyers. Since my particular group is engaged in extending the very boundaries of computation, it is particularly fertile ground. Patents of this type come at little incremental cost to IBM, as a side effect of our activities. As to being able to use what is produced in the lab, I would say the company has a pretty good track record recently, what with our technology for using copper in the production of microprocessors causing such a big splash. As to the significance of this, whether you should put money into Big Blue is for your own DD, this is merely another datapoint (and one from a not terribly objective perspective, to boot).

disclosure- I am long IBM stock (surprise, surprise)

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