I’m tempted to chuckle at this as being the latest manifestation of the US ‘bizmeth’ patent madness, in which people can ‘protect’ the process of doing something obvious in a sensible fashion.
IBM’s patents are gloriously old, and predate the internet as we know it. These are akin to finding feudal land rights, or ancient rights of way, impinging on the gleaming new freeholds of the web.
I’m not a fan of bizmeth patents, as this thread on NowEurope demonstrates. Greg made some good and sensible comments there about the need for quality, how it’s the process that’s protected rather than the implementation and the difficulty protection. Greg also provided a succinct position paper on the defeat of the European Software Directive.
I don’t really mind who – other than the lawyers – profits from this: I’m just going to enjoy for a moment that the ‘inventors’ of the ‘1-click ordering’ (“whereby the item is ordered without using a shopping cart ordering model”, to cite their patent) are getting a taste for being sued for inventing the obvious, or discovering the optimal.