backtop


Print 33 comment(s) - last by Yawgm0th.. on Mar 11 at 10:58 PM

The latest strange patent has arrived, and this one's from IBM.

In the realm of rather strange patents, IBM, which claims to be trying to reform the patent industry, has filed for a patent on preventing its software products from being used in meetings.  IBM seeks to patent the practice in a new filing verbosely titled "Methodology And Process For Suppressing De-Focusing Activities During Selective Scheduled Meetings " 

The new patent application from IBM reads:

Within exemplary embodiments of the present invention repeating calendar event scheduling application options are implemented to support the implementation of a distraction-free meeting event. This aspect is accomplished by the calendar event invitation specifically stating that the meeting is expected to be distraction free, and as such, the acceptance of a meeting invitation would require that the meeting invitee submit to the computing system suspension requirements that are necessitated to initiate a distraction-free meeting. This meeting policy is enforced by the calendar event scheduling application being configured to effectively suspend the local activity of a computing system or incoming and outgoing communication requests that are received at the computing system.

Some are accusing the patent of being overly broad.  Others are noting that it’s rather strange for a company to patent a way for customers to ignore its products. 

Lotus Notes is an email client-server suite produced by IBM.  It predates Microsoft's Exchange server by four years, being first released in 1989.  Reports on Lotus Notes' market share vary wildly, but are in agreement that it’s trailing Microsoft Exchange Server.  Some estimates place its market penetration as high as 40 percent (Gartner), while another study from early in the year (Ferris) placed its market share at a mere 10 percent.

IBM has been known for making rather unusual patents in the past.  While regularly patenting many creative software and hardware concepts, it has also filed patents for things like making outsourcing more efficient.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: I claim "prior art"
By Mandor on 3/10/2009 5:30:08 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Seriously, why can't the Patent office fine companies for wasting their time?

This would imply the Patent office actually reading patents that are submitted, instead of just approving them.


RE: I claim "prior art"
By ymboc on 3/10/2009 5:42:26 PM , Rating: 2
As a friend once told me...

Patent offices are in conflict of interest when it comes to granting patents.

It's in the office's interest to grant patents so they collect on the patent maintenance fees.


RE: I claim "prior art"
By Tiamat on 3/11/2009 5:39:11 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, it is not in the best interest of USPTO to grant patents. USPTO gets more funding by rejecting patents. The actual fee for making an allowed patent application into a patent pales in comparison to the fees collected during the entire office action process (e.g. missing paperwork fees, time extention fees). Practically all patent applications are rejected on the first go-around.


"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

Related Articles













botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki