back to article IBM hopes to patent 'dealing with chaos'

IBM wants to patent a means of responding to hurricanes, earthquakes, tidal waves, solar flares, flooding, terrorism, war, pandemics, and other situations where you would hope companies aren't worried about patents. With a US patent application just released to the public and turned up by Techdirt, Big Blue seeks exclusive …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. David Harris


    I thought patents were supposed to be non obvious? This just looks like a description of a common sense approach to dealing with any unexpected problem.


  2. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Infinite Loop Problem

    Steps 808, 810 & 812 would bugger most governments then.

    Paris because she must have a job at IBM's patent department.

  3. David

    Endless Loop

    Judging by that diagram, 'as long as it takes' would be forever, since whatever happens it just keeps looping back on round.

  4. Rick
    Paris Hilton

    IBM patents

    ....the patent!!! Hell they no longer seem interested in building new kit or actually intventing something....I can see the future headline now

    "IBM in bitter takeover bid with the US Govt over patents."

    >/ thinks I will patent a way of patenting useless/obvious patents. then i can take IBM for all its got.

    and Paris cause patents are hot...

  5. Anonymous Coward


    So from that flowchart, it seems the correct response to a crisis is to manage your resources. Oh, and keep checking they're still there (presumably in case the crisis has become fatal). But don't actually *do* anything with those resources.


    (Also, is it just me, or are "Yes" and "No" the wrong way around on that diagram? "Do I have resources? No. Then optimize them! Wait - optimize what now?")

  6. Nick L

    09/11, 07/07 or 01/04 ?

    Somebody please tell me this is a belated April Fool ...

  7. Solomon Grundy


    I really hope that's just a marketing flowchart they've got there - as several others have noticed there are some glaring problems with the chart in it's current form.

    Besides, it's a silly think to patent.

    I'm going to patent the business process for wiping your backside after unexpected waste ejection event. That'll show 'em.

  8. Michael Jarve

    I think...

    I think I may patent walking down the street, and in the event of tripping, pick myself back up and continue walking. Beware infringers of my mighty patent!

  9. Jens Fallesen

    Dealing with chaos? They're just the ones!

    IBM? Rings a bell. Wasn't it IBM who developed the new T5 baggage system? Or who managed to great deal of cockup yesterday, causing total downtime for several banks and logistics companies most of the day? And important ones too: Carlsberg couldn't deliver any beers for two days.

    Guess these are the guys for chaos stuff …

  10. Dave

    Open Patents

    so I wonder if this will make it into IBM's "Open Patents" portfolio thing that they wave around to proclaim their undying love of Open Sauce? I mean, hell, it's not like IBM could have invested billions of R&D dollars in designing something most Emergency Management systems have been doing since the second World War.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Written when they helped Hitler with German census?

    This looks like something developed, in oh, say 1933.

  12. Kristin McKechie

    Clearly an Unpatentable Idea....

    I'm certainly no expert on patents, but clearly this has to be a joke!

    In an amicus brief to a US Court Red Hat laid out the rules pretty clearly - you don't get a patent just by tying your idea to a machine - unless it is the machine itself which is unique, non-obvious and useful...

    You can see that brief yourself on Groklaw:

    Essentialy Red hat's points boil down to:

    * Abstract ideas are not patentable

    * Abstract ideas don't get patentable just because there's a computer involved

    As for the thought that IBM are somehow just discovering patents - think on the fact that until Microsoft lurched into the arena, IBM has consistently been one of the largest single recipients of patents globally, year on year for the past sixty years at least - imagine that patent portfolio landing on your head if you annoy the behemoth....

    Patents are IBM's bread and butter - surely they know that this piece of junk won't fly...

  13. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    I know everyone is dying but I'm typing as fast as I can

    This reminds me of horribly complicated decision making computer programs in the 80s where inputting the parameters of the problem required 100 times the manpower of solving it manually. Just thinking about it makes me want to burn a tractor feed printer.

  14. Joe M

    Patent, shmatent

    If this is not a joke, (and I sure as hell hope it is), then it is an excellent indicator of where the US patent system is heading.

    Even if it is a joke you will find plenty of other examples of obvious, trivial, inane, useless or just mad "inventions" which the patent office wants us to take seriously.

  15. Steve Roper

    And when a disaster happens

    and thousands of people die because non-IBM emergency services who happened to be on the scene could do nothing because any action would be a patent violation, will IBM be sued into bankruptcy for all those deaths?

    Seriously, when it gets this ridiculous, the ONLY possible answer in an emergency is open, deliberate DEFIANCE OF THE PATENT LAW. When people's lives are at stake, patent law becomes irrelevant.

    Here's hoping for an impact of Apophis in 2036. This civilisation needs exterminating.

  16. Highlander


    the patent is a) designed to show how stupid the system is, and b) a case of patenting something utterly obvious pre-emptively to prevent some twit from patenting the 'process' and suing IBM and the rest of the world for doing what seems right. As someone mentioned IBM maintains a portfolio of patents that are 'open', this could join that group.

    IBM have show in recent times that they really do 'get' that the patent system is broken, but they have also shown forethought in dealing with the challenges presented by such a broken system, this seems like an instance of that.

  17. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Blithe Blighty Boffinry Bunker Busting Bombes .... NeuReal Control ProgramMIng.

    FAB, IBM .... InterNetional Rescue to the Rescue?

    Patently SuperCritical to the Plan are Expert Resources, which are always available Optimised in XXXXPertEase, and in Chaos Control Systems, a Valuable Asset never considered a Cost 42 Order ........ for XXXXPertEase would consider that an unnecessary and cynical Proxy Control Red Herring and the Very XXXXPloitable Weakness and Inherent Vulnerability in the System for which Expert Resources are Sought to Remedy.

    Very Catch 22, but Nothing to Worry about if Fields of Endeavour and Spirits of AIdDVenture are 42BVirtual Reality with Quantum Communications TelePorting IBM into Colossal Realms of Great Games Play for Commend to Control CyberSpace and ITs Currency and Currencies/Shared Information for CyberIntelAIgent Flow.

    amfM HyperRadioProActivity however, may have the Prior Networking Art Claim to any Patent Application of such Intellectual Property, although such is the Nature of Future Fitness in XXXXPertEase, it would be Patently Absurd to Argue for the Sake of a Failing Business Model seeking Expert Resources to Counter the Oxymoron, Chaotic Intelligence ...... but it is as well to be aware of the Fact, just to avoid any possible Confusion, and thus is it so Registered here.

  18. s. pam Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Funny enough, they don't police their patents

    so FEMA and others can abuse them all they want. i worked in IBM research for years and have lots of patents and don't see IBM enforcing those patents, so i think it unlikely even if granted they're the bag o'rocks to enforce this..

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. Spleen

    Is this a patent or a leaked Scientology document?

    Select an event management location and begin active management



    Count small female bodies



    Cognition available? (yes -> proceed to Operating Thetan III; no -> do step over until you do)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could have fixed the problem at Heathhrow Teminal 5... wait a minute; IBM developed the software in that project.

    On second thoughts, shove it.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    you have to give it to them

    This could be a joke ofcourse.

    But if it is not a joke then it is quite courageus (I am being polite here). So chaos can be dealt with by approaching by assuming that uncertainty is limited and that the chaos which is 'discovered' can be treated as a closed system?

    IF that is a possible and sensible reduction to make it deserves a Nobel prize. However if uncertainty cannot be reduced out of the assessment process then this proposal seems rather... well shall we say 'uninformed'... Personally I would like to see an example of reasoning where multiple levels of uncertainty could be ignored in processes which are supposed to deal with 'real world chaos' and include the issue of working in an open system environment where any judgements would by definition be leading to boundary problems (e.g. what is the relevant system that we set the boundary around as being chaotic?).

    Maybe the thoughtprocess was in line with.

    1. let us assume that chaotic problems can be defined within certain and correct boundaries.

    2. let us assume that chaotic problems do not include uncertainties and that they are not complex.

    3. let us assume that people are rational and can set those boundaries without much problems.

    4. let us assume that people can actually create a sufficiently detailed understanding of the chaos they experience so they can make a correct desription of how to deal with it..

    oh wait ......

  23. Snert Lee


    The closest thing to innovation here is the use of the word "chaotic" in a flow chart.

    Otherwise, it's just a highly simplified fantasy scenario.

    Step 1 - Detect problem.

    Step 2 - Invoke magical solution.

    Step 3 - Wait for next problem.

  24. Nick Woodson

    Are they serious?

    What did they do...look at the Department of Defense's incident response framework and add pretend cash value concepts? If they get a patent out of this that will tell us everything we need to know about IP and the fallacy thereof.

  25. Waldo

    Do what?

    Chaos: (derived from the Ancient Greek Χάος, Chaos) typically refers to unpredictability.

    Ummm so they can predict the unpredictable now and can patent it... I must have dozed off and missed something here?? LOL

  26. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Well ...

    "When chaos descends, you tell the system what you need, and the system decides if you can get it."

    Beats thinking doesn't it?

  27. Ishkandar

    So where were they....

    ... when Katrina struck ??

    >>With a US patent application just released to the public and turned up by Techdirt, Big Blue seeks exclusive rights to a "system and method for optimizing the selection, verification, and deployment of expert resources in a time of chaos."<<

    Selection: It's a hurricane

    Verification:: It's blowing straight into our f***ing faces !!

    Deployment of expert resources: Where are the f***ing pumps ?? We are up to our necks in shitty water already !! Can't they find even one fireman ??

    Response: Glug, glug, glug !!

    Meanwhile, back at the back, the computer keeps looping and looping and....

  28. Ishkandar
    Black Helicopters

    Procedure 802 - detect chaotic event

    How does the computer know what *IS* a chaotic event ?? Does a traffic jam count ?? A Tunguska-type meteor strike ?? The president gone mad ?? IBM issuing plain English statements ??

  29. Geoff Mackenzie

    What next?

    IBM sue government after tsunami for seeking expert assistance and optimising resources without a license? Truly bizarre.

  30. Matthew Barker
    Paris Hilton

    I sense an opportunity here...

    Picture it now, a supermodel boards the plane on which you've already taken your seat...

    The IBM system kicks in and an optimized expert at dealing with the ill-tempered and potentially explosive is dispatched to the scene. The loop at the end is because the supermodel may overwhelm all attempts to calm her and more optimized experts have to be dispatched to the scene.

    Paris because you don't have a picture of an exploding supermodel. Perhaps you could replace the flame icon?



This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like