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HP patents reminder messages

by on01 August 2017

More HP sauce 

The maker of over-priced printer ink, HP, has just decided that it invented reminder messages and has scored itself a patent from the daft US Patent Office.

The silly patent was spotted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. United States Patent No. 9,715,680 (the '680 patent) is titled "Reminder messages." While the patent application does suggest some minor tweaks to standard automated reminders, none of these supposed additions deserve patent protection.

Although this claim uses some obscure language  -like "non-transitory computer-readable storage medium" and "article data" - it describes a quite mundane process.

The "article data" is simply additional information associated with an event. For example, "buy a cake" might be included with a birthday reminder. The patent also requires that this extra information be input via a "scanning operation" (e.g. scanning a QR code).

The '680 patent comes from an application filed in July 2012. It is supposed to represent a non-obvious advance on technology that existed before that date. Of course, reminder messages were standard many years before the application was filed.

And just a few minutes of research reveals that QR codes were already used to encode information for reminder messages. The Patent Office reviewed HP's application for years without ever considering any real-world products. Indeed, the examiner considered only patents and patent applications before letting HP have its patent.  So following that logic if you patented the wheel, or air then because no one else has patented it you should be awarded a patent by the USPO.   Well, Apple did get one for the rounded rectangle so all bets against HP must be off.

Last modified on 01 August 2017
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