Thursday, August 07, 2008

IBM's 7,407,089 "paper or plastic" patent

There's a lot of buzz about IBM's US Patent No. 7,407,089 titled System and method for determining packaging preference with first claim:

A method of determining a customer's packaging preference in a conventional point-of-sale retail location, wherein the point-of-sale retail location includes a person who performs the packaging of items purchased in the point-of-sale retail location for the customer, comprising the steps of:

identifying the customer using a customer identifier; and
retrieving available container packaging preference information for the purchased items using the customer identifier for the identified customer.

The listed inventor is Kyle N. Patrick, and the law firm was the Pastel Law Firm.

In light of IBM's past history of procuring dubious patents, the "paper or plastic" patent should not come as a surprise.

In the IPBiz post
The "future of computing" at IBM: trivial or schizophrenic?
one had a claim:

A system for reducing customer dissatisfaction for waiting, said system comprising: a queue monitoring subsystem that detects an entry of a customer into a waiting queue;a reward computing subsystem that calculates a reward for the customer for being in the waiting queue; anda communication subsystem to communicate the reward to the customer,wherein at least one of said queue monitoring subsystem, said reward computing subsystem, and said communication subsystem is automated.

*And don't forget the toilet queue patent-->

The bottom line: the "patent quality" argument of patent reformers from IT was a fabricated prop.


Blogger Kyle Patrick said...

Hi Lawrence, since I'm the author of the "paper or plastic" patent, I can shed some light on the back story. The genesis of the idea was my minor frustration of being asked repeatedly "would you like your milk in a bag?" Since I always answered the same way, and I always presented my affinity card, I thought that they should remember this and stop asking me. Idea elaboration took this to encompass the broader packaging point, and "paper or plastic" became a catchy phrase even within IBM. The packaging marker on the affinity card was designed to be a backup. Best regards, Kyle

9:50 PM  

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