Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Patent of the Month


Electronic Frontier Foundation's newest patent campaign: the group will be announcing a "Stupid Patent of the Month." For August, the group has nominated US Patent No. 8,762,173, titled “Method and Apparatus for Indirect Medical Consultation.”

The patent issued in June, and it dates back to an original filing in 2007. A blog post by EFF lawyer Vera Ranieri, supplies a legalese-free description of just what the now-monopolized method is:

a. take a telephone call from patient
b. record patient info in a patient file
c. send patient information to a doctor, ask the doctor if she wants to talk to the patient
d. call the patient back and transfer the call to the doctor
e. record the call
f. add the recorded call to the patient file and send to doctor
g. do steps a–f with a computer

The original patent actually just had steps A-F, and it was appropriately rejected. Then, step G was added, and the rejection went away.

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