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Patents

IBM's But-I-Only-Got-The-Soup Patent 267

theodp writes "In an Onion-worthy move, the USPTO has decided that IBM inventors deserve a patent for splitting a restaurant bill. Ending an 8+ year battle with the USPTO, self-anointed patent system savior IBM got a less-than-impressed USPTO Examiner's final rejection overruled in June and snagged US Patent No. 7,457,767 Tuesday for its Pay at the Table System. From the patent: 'Though US Pat. No. 5,933,812 to Meyer, et al. discussed previously provides for an entire table of patrons to pay the total bill using a credit card, including the gratuity, it does not provide an ability for the check to be split among the various patrons, and for those individual patrons to then pay their desired portion of the bill. This deficiency is addressed by the present invention.'"
Patents

Designing a Patent-Incentive Program? 221

SoulMaster writes "The company I work for (we are a one-year-old start-up) has recently started filing patents to protect some of its intellectual property. At the onset of the patent process, one of the executives drafted a very basic Patent Incentive Program (PIP) which is now under full review to ensure that it is both accurate and fair. The basics of our original PIP are that inventors receive (or co-inventors share): $500 for each provisional filing, $1500 for an actual patent filing (with full claim-sets defined), and $5000 for any patent that is granted by the USPTO. While the current program seems fair to our staff, we have been unable to find anything to compare it to. Moreover, the revamp of the program is likely to grant an equity stake in the company (via an Options grant) rather than cash payouts. I've scoured Google for information, but because internally documented PIPs aren't generally public knowledge, the results are limited. Thus, I have decided to ask Slashdot users: How does the company you work for handle Patent incentives? Do they have them at all? Are they cash or equity based?"

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