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IBM Patents Idle Your Rights Online

IBM Snags Patent On Half-Day Off of Work Notifications 163

theodp writes "The USPTO appears to have lowered the bar on obviousness, awarding a patent to IBM Tuesday for its System for Portion of a Day Out of Office Notification. 'Out of office features in existing applications such as Lotus Notes, IBM Workplace, and Microsoft Outlook all implement a way to take a number of days off from one day to many days,' acknowledges purported patent reformer Big Blue. 'Yet, none of these applications contain the feature of letting a person take a half-day or in more general terms, x days and x hours off.' Eureka! And yes, the invention is every bit as obvious as you can imagine."
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IBM Snags Patent On Half-Day Off of Work Notifications

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  • It's time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cmdr_klarg ( 629569 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @11:51AM (#38651568)

    It's time for pitchforks and torches at the USPTO...

  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @11:53AM (#38651584)
    I'm wondering if anybody knows if IBM has a patent on employees having to ask to go to the bathroom. That was one of the more unique aspects of working at IBM, in my experience.
  • Re:Imagine.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by envelope ( 317893 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @11:57AM (#38651646) Homepage Journal

    He probably has a quota of patent applications he has to file.

  • Re:Imagine.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El Torico ( 732160 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:10PM (#38651842)
    It's probably a bunch of guys sitting around, trying to "one up" each other on who can get the most outrageous patent.
  • by NotSanguine ( 1917456 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:15PM (#38651906) Journal

    Where's the payoff for the avalanche of poor patents? IBM isn't getting paid, the USPTO isn't better off, so are the politicians getting paid? Why is this system continuing? Two reasons I can see: protection for the largest companies against new start-ups, and getting foreign countries to adopt US Patent laws and extort their corporations. But is that really it, is that the whole game? IBM isn't full of idiots and the politicians are (always) working an angle, so why this continued patent madness?

    The payoff is selling it as part of a portfolio of patents to cover other equally obvious stuff, like they're doing with Google now. Jeebus, our IP system is broken!

  • Re:Huh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Biff Stu ( 654099 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:46PM (#38654014)

    Does this mean we (and whoever created our HR software) have to sue IBM? Or can we just ask for a cut when they start collecting license fees on this patent?

    No. It's a valid US patent.
    It means that IBM can sue whoever created your HR software and get an injunction to stop its sale in the US. Whoever makes your HR software would then need to fight IBM and a team of wicked sharp lawyers in court, and convince a bunch of dumb-fucks in East Texas, who have nothing better to do for three months than sit in a jury for $12 / day, that the patent isn't valid do to prior art or obviousness.

    Welcome to the giant cluster fuck that is the US patent system.

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb