Inquiring minds are noting IBM files for patent on offshoring jobs.

As IBM was firing thousands of American workers last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published Big Blue’s application to copyright a computerized system that calculates how to offshore jobs while maximizing government tax breaks.

Update: IBM withdraws its application, calling it an error.

In their application to patent a “method and system for strategic global resource sourcing,” five Hudson Valley IBMers describe how it weighs such plans as “50 percent of resources in China by 2010,” against such factors as labor costs, infrastructure and the “minimum head count to qualify for incentives.”

Lee Conrad, national coordinator for Alliance@IBM, a group trying to unionize Big Blue, was stunned to learn of the application.

“This is obviously outrageous — a patent on how to offshore U.S. jobs,” Conrad said. “IBM is obviously doing all it can to decimate the U.S. work force, and it is all the more reason why IBM should not get any tax breaks or stimulus money. They clearly are abandoning the U.S. work force.”

The application says the system weighs moving into or out of a particular country against criteria such as wages, political systems, “incentive contracts” and the economic impact of “violating and/or satisfying those incentives.”

What Makes IBM Special?

IBM CEO Sam Palmisano speaks at an IBM event in 2006 in Bangalore, India. IBM workers invented a system that calculates how to offshore jobs while maximizing government tax breaks.

Q: What Makes IBM Special?
A: Filing for an outsourcing strategy patent twice in 17 months only to withdraw the application when it was publicized.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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