2010-10-07

FOLLOW-UP: Six Divided by Two is Patented

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a new IBM patent on estimating the average weight of passengers in a vehicle. Well, I just read a TechDirt article about an even more frivolous patent by IBM for similar things. Basically, this patents the measurement of a car's speed and the division of 60 mi/hr by the speed to determine the refresh rate of a billboard at that location.
How is this even more ridiculous than the last one? The last one didn't explicitly use a symbolic formula; it just described the calculation in words. Here, an explicit symbolic formula is given. I would say that goes against every precedent saying that mathematical formulas (especially ones so simple as this one) are not patentable. The person who submitted this tip to TechDirt asked what I also asked upon reading the introduction: would the refresh rate be infinite if traffic was backed up? There doesn't appear to be any sort of backup plan (no pun intended) in the abstract of the patent, though further down in the details there vaguely does appear to be some provision of this sort.
There is much more for me to say about this. I think the ridiculousness of the patent filing speaks for itself. All I hope is that the USPTO rejects this one, but at that rate, I might as well hope to find a magnetic monopole.

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