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.

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As simple idea as it is
By AnnihilatorX on 3/10/2009 5:46:51 PM , Rating: 2
I've never seen any mobile phones, smart phones, PDAs, nor Microsoft Outlook, allow you to disable alarm/event notifications/mute volume when an event is on the calender schedule and is taking place.

I longed for this function but I never found this. Maybe I should have back then thought about patenting this idea.

RE: As simple idea as it is
By CBeck113 on 3/11/2009 8:15:06 AM , Rating: 2
Actually Nokia did this with their phone tools (E-Series I believe). If you have a meeting in your calendar all phone calls are redirected to your mailbox, and the phone settings are "Meeting" to silence text messages & other alarms.
As for Notes, you can shut off the pop-ups for new e-mails and change your instant messaging to "Do not disturb" if you're the moderator, no one else should have a laptop with them in the meeting unless they are asked to provide information with it. Cell phone should be shut off or on silent. Although it would make things a little easier, I don't necessarily see the need to patent it - but maybe that's why I'm sitting at work instead of selling my ideas.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls
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