Monday, May 11, 2009

IBM patent application on scheduling business meetings

In the flap that followed IBM's patent application on outsourcing methods (20090083107), IBM spokesman Steve Malkiewicz said Monday, 30 March 09 the application would be withdrawn because it "is contrary to our patent policy on business methods."

On May 7, 2009 , one got a look at US published application 20090119148, titled SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR ENHANCING PRODUCTIVITY, which includes claims:

Claim 1: A method including:

defining, by a user, a time template including a plurality of predefined time intervals for scheduling meetings; and
applying the time template across a collaborative system.

Claim 9: The method of claim 1, further including coordinating the time template across multiple time zones.

Yes, this is a business method patent (application) by IBM about scheduling meetings. The background states:

A significant source of wasted time is the general predisposition to using integral units of time, based on hour or half hour increments. This is especially true of business meetings, which are invariably scheduled to last an hour. Meeting attendees will fill the full hour for which the meeting is scheduled regardless of whether the entire hour is necessary to address the business at hand. The result of this is that a meeting that could have taken less than an hour will end up wasting time due to the arbitrary hour-based scheduling paradigm.

The law firm HOLLAND & KNIGHT did the application.

For a discussion of the outsourcing application:

IBM to withdraw second patent application on outsourcing

IPBiz has also discussed IBM's schizophrenic patent policy, of which the scheduling application (11/934496) is another example.

**Separately, on Holland and Knight

Copy of Class Action Complaint Filed Against Holland & Knight

Holland & Knight sued for breach of contract and negligence by Johns Hopkins professor out $20 million which includes:

A Johns Hopkins Hospital neurosurgery professor alleges he is out $20 million because the company hired to pay the annual maintenance fee for a Japanese patent of a pain-relieving drug failed to do so.

Dr. James N. Campbell is suing the Channel Island branch of Computer Patent Annuities, which specializes in managing intellectual property rights for its clients, in Baltimore City Circuit Court. The suit also names the law firm of Holland & Knight, which employed the lawyer who hired Computer Patent.

Attorney Steven E. Tiller, who is representing Campbell and his company ARC 1 Inc., estimated that the renewal fee was less than $1,000.

The complaint further alleges that the law firm continued to bill Campbell for maintaining the patent, even after it had been terminated.


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