One more thought from the software patent front. There is hope yet that bad or obvious patents can be invalidated or withdrawn. The Bustpatents Website contains a long list of patents that were invalidated. Leading off the list was a "System and method for providing reservations for restroom use" -- held by IBM, of all people.
There are many software methods that have been disposed of, including a Remote information services access system based on a client/server model, a method and system for placing a purchase order via a communications network, a system and method for constructing dialogs for commands and templates.
Bustpatents.com provides the details on IBM's restroom patent, which was voluntarily flushed away by IBM out of embarrassment:
System and method for providing reservations for restroom use
Filed: August 14, 2000
No non-patent prior art cited.What is claimed is:
1. A method of providing reservations for restroom use, comprising: receiving a reservation request from a user; and notifying the user when the restroom is available for his or her use.