No time to post a comment, I'm busy filing a patent application for two circular discs, one at each end of a rod. I reckon it will revolutionise dragging stuff on sleds.
Waddya mean, 'prior art'?
You know the out-of-office automatic emails that we've been using for the past 20 years? Well, IBM has just been awarded a patent that states it practically invented the system. IBM applied for the patent seven years ago and has amended its filing since then. As a result, the US Patent Office issued Patent No 9,547,842 on …
As I've said before, patent offices should bear all defendants' costs when stupid patents like this are successfully challenged with compensation for any other costs incurred, for instance by not being able to make use of whatever it was while the case was pending.
Yes, I know the objection, it's taxpayers' money. Well, it's up to the taxpayers to stop it. Make some compensatory savings in the patent office; chuck out the patent examiners who were responsible, claw the money back from them, whatever.
" And a person must be responsible for the consequences of her actions. There you go."
Alas, the Patent Office Corporation Person would be a Government Person, and therefore damn near immune to the consequence of its (official) actions. (Per sovereign immunity (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_immunity_in_the_United_States). If the PTO was acting in accordance with their official policy and direction, they're untouchable.
Must be nice to be a Corporate Government Person.
For every stupid patent challenged as invalid and found so, the sponsor of the challenge gets to take away / invalidate / noop one other patent - their choice of which one.
Is some patent costing your company a gold ingot a year in licensing fees? Find another, indefensible patent from the predatory company, challenge and win, and you get to invalidate their pot of gold!
Now that would make a real patent war! Bwahaha!
No up to 2007 Outlook had the cunningly similar "out of facility" which didn't feature a start date but did allow you to use it in a factory environment or other non-office facility. The more specific "Out of Office" replaced it only after IBM invented the concept.
It was sometime in the '80s I first encountered it, and it was old back then. In the 1990s we were bemoaning the arrival of a new generation of broken autoresponders from the likes of Microsoft, that turned autoresponses into spam by sending them willy-nilly to every mailinglist the outlook-luser was subscribed to.
Looks like IBM still has the traditional UNIX vacation program that Just Got Things Right.
Have a ball scanning the "patent citations" in this thing. They start in 2003. Apparently email was new then.
And what a cluster of jokes!
They seem to be like the infamous Compton's patent, one of the first software patents. Compton seemed to take a typical system description document, such as big organizations make before beginning any project, and put it in patent-ese form and language. Viola! A novel idea. Which, hey, maybe it was novel to the talent at Compton's, apparently unfamiliar with computers. Or unfamiliar with an "electronic computing device", which back in the '70's or so was what you sprinkled your description of the wheel with to make it novel and patentable.
Wanna speculate on how may patent applications there are right now sprinkling their software descriptions with "machine learning" or some such blather to make blatantly obvious ideas able to support the livelihood of patent lawyers?
Sprinkling patent applications with accepted buzzwords is one of a plurality of novel methodologies my (patent pending) automated patent generation system employs. My novel buzz-sprinkle method, utilizing machine learning technology, will be for sale as soon as it passes review. As will my novel neural-net based buzzword identification and extraction method used to support the buzzword sprinkle ... blah, blah, blah.
vacation was developed by Eric Allman and the University of California,
Berkeley in 1983.
That's from http://manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/precise/man1/vacation.1.html . I'm struggling to find a source more definitive than that: google seems unhelpful in unearthing any real history.
FWIW, vacation was originally one of many simple sh scripts. It existed in one form or another on every un*x system at every Uni I ever had anything to do with, starting in the mid 1970s. Allman saw a need and formalized/standardized it. IBM only got on board with the advent of AIX in the mid 1980s, after the pre-release of 4.3BSD (AIX had (and has) 4.3BSD code in it). IBM was a trifle late to the un*x party, thus me showing IBM engineers how it worked in roughly 1985 when AIX was still pilot build, or perhaps Alpha ...
That's because they are still at stage one in their business cycle:
Stage 1: Collect everyone's stuff, and become the go-to information source for everyone.
Stage 2: Claim ownership of everything gathered in stage 1.
Stage 3: Since we own it, history is ours to do with as we please.
Sorry to spoil your fun, but did anyone actually read the patent rather than start a rant? In fact the patent doesn't protect "out off office emails". What it protects is a system which notes when a user says they will be away - start date, end date and a message. This is normally activated by the user in advance. Between that time and the start time, the system will send a message attached to any email giving this data. In fact the process is that the computer checks whether the current time is between activation time and absence start time (and not after start time!) and that the recipient had not already received such a message and then send out a message to say in advance that the writer will be absent in the future from x to y.
Out of office systems normally work while the first person is away. This is an automated advance warning system which attached the message to an email i. e. by the way the writer is going to be away for these days - useful if you plan to reply later rather than directly.
Ex-IBMer here with a few IBM patents under my belt. I was assuming that IBM hadn't re-invented the wheel and that this was just bad reporting. It's a nightmare trying to get a patent past the IBM system and its lawyers. They do not want to waste their time with any of the hundreds of would be inventors that fling nonsense at them all day long. There is a *very* rigorous process that weeds out the failures before they happen. So, you can bet your bottom dollar (pound in my case !) that the IBM patent has something significant/different in it.
Thanks for reading the patent Bakker ! (not a fun thing to do in my experience).
I agree and if people (including the REG!) correctly read the Patent, it's clearly stated:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
"... Out of office is an optional feature provided by many of the popular electronic mail systems, especially by POP3 "
So in summary, it's a Pre-Out of Office notification.
Okay, so we know that IBM is a big company that loves making patents. I get it that they might want to plump up the numbers with some junk patents. After all, they seem to be going for the record every year.
The thing that baffles me though is that behind the big company and the targets, there must have been some individual who actually wrote this patent application. Someone who must surely have known that it wasn't actually a new thing that they'd invented. That person ought to be hanging their head in shame right now.
To be honest, given the legal nature of patents, it really ought to be considered perjury to submit a patent application in the full knowledge that you didn't invent it.
So they patented a function everyone hated in Lotus Domino and is no longer used?
The out of office agent applied to the mail file which ran every 6 hours (or however the server was configured) always felt like a stupid idea. Bin the idea and stick with the current send a reply straight away so people don't email going "Are you there today?"
The suggestion that OOO is actually connected to the users calendar.
It always struck me as odd that when you created an OOO appointment in Outlook it didn't automatically set OOO replies too.
If it had, it might avoid the classic OOO fail where you email someone whose OOO has been left on a week after they got back.
What we have now is a situation where neither the patent office, nor patent holders are operating in good faith.
Making the patent office document a good faith effort to investigate a filing is simple enough, but it has to be in tandem with the ability to exert an effective punishment against organizations that would try to game the system.
How? I have no clue. I'm here to bitch, not solve problems.
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021