"The Tonight Show" controversy: do trademarks have a temporal dimension?]
Suppose back in the year 2004, NBC executives had attempted to get a business method patent for a method to sustain ratings for a flagship late night show of a company. Suppose it involved steps of
having a show rated number one in its time slot with said show having a host,
announcing a replacement for the host five years in advance of when said replacement is to take place, wherein the host replacement is employed by the company, and
selecting the replacement host based on factors including projected demographics and competitive offers to said host replacement.
Obvious or not? A matter of common sense? A matter of a limited number of alternatives to test?
tv.yahoo on Conan's final comments on Tonight on 22 Jan 2010:
"There has been a lot of speculation in the press about what I legally can and can't say about NBC. To set the record straight, tonight I am allowed to say anything I want. And what I want to say is this: Between my time at 'Saturday Night Live,' 'The Late Night Show,' and my brief run here on 'The Tonight Show,' I have worked with NBC for over 20 years. Yes, we have our differences right now. And, yes, we're going to go our separate ways. But this company has been my home for most of my adult life. I am enormously proud of the work we have done together, and I want to thank NBC for making it all possible."
NBC's "cheap programming" gambit fails, but incrementalist patents survive