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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RE: I claim "prior art"
By rtrski on 3/10/2009 11:44:18 PM , Rating: 5
As an unfortunate user of (b)Lotus Notes at work, I have to say that it FREQUENTLY "suspends the local activity of {my} computing system {AND} incoming and outgoing communication requests"...on a rather frequent basis. As a side benefit, it eats so many resources when it randomly decides to do something - reindexes all my archives in order of fonts used??? heck if I know!! - that I can't use the computer for anything else on occasion as well.

Being able to get it to freeze everything only when you 'wanted' it to would be a godsend by comparison.

RE: I claim "prior art"
By magreen on 3/11/2009 9:54:12 AM , Rating: 2
That was funny ;)

RE: I claim "prior art"
By GodisanAtheist on 3/11/2009 2:37:22 PM , Rating: 2
Plz give this man a 6.

RE: I claim "prior art"
By bodar on 3/11/2009 8:49:26 PM , Rating: 2
Strange, my Lotus Notes client doesn't break 40MB RAM with several DBs open and has rarely ever gone crazy on me in the way you describe. We are still on v7.02 (on XP) though.

It did once crash constantly every 5 minutes, but I reinstalled and I've had no problems since.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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