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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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UNCOMFORTABLY Ambiguous
By Yawgm0th on 3/10/2009 9:20:45 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
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 sentence, without being properly hyphenated has several different possible meanings (all of which are still convoluted). FOUR HUNDRED MEANINGS.

It's painful to read. Was this patent application actually written by someone with a college education? It's terrible writing, even for a patent application -- with or without the hyphens.




RE: UNCOMFORTABLY Ambiguous
By mmatis on 3/10/2009 10:10:48 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, it looks a lot like typical Engineering writing to me. Not much different from what's passed off as User Manuals and other sundry "technical" documentation these days. Not to imply that technical weenies can't communicate worth a damn, of course. I mean, surely you can't be serious! NOBODY could ever find statements as well written as this patent application ANYWHERE within the confines of DailyTech under ANY circumstances...

Never mind the obscure reference to "I am serious, and don't call me Shirley!"
}:-]


RE: UNCOMFORTABLY Ambiguous
By Yawgm0th on 3/11/2009 10:58:17 PM , Rating: 2
If I can reference PowerThirst, you can reference Airplane.


RE: UNCOMFORTABLY Ambiguous
By albundy2 on 3/11/2009 2:59:44 AM , Rating: 2
if it has 400 meanings, i would say it was excellently written. that's 400 different possible pattent suit's.
they could write a hanfull of patent's that way.... and... umm... i dunno become apple?


RE: UNCOMFORTABLY Ambiguous
By MrPoletski on 3/11/2009 6:38:34 AM , Rating: 2
*warning*

Apple/pc wars flame bait detected

*warning*

=)


RE: UNCOMFORTABLY Ambiguous
By Iger on 3/11/2009 5:02:15 AM , Rating: 2
I guess we should attribute it to the lawyers, as per post above :)


RE: UNCOMFORTABLY Ambiguous
By 91TTZ on 3/11/2009 8:49:15 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's painful to read. Was this patent application actually written by someone with a college education? It's terrible writing, even for a patent application -- with or without the hyphens.


I agree that it's painful to read. What does a college education have to do with it, though? How many people without college degrees do you know that write like that? It seems that this person has a good vocabulary but lacks the common sense to write something that's easy to read.


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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