Patents gone awry: Microsoft’s U.S. Parent 6,882,706

Today, The Register reported that Microsoft patents 911 – more specifically, “a system for accessing data used by emergency services.”
If you read the details of U.S. Patent 6,882,706 and interpret the lofty “patent-speak,” you’ll realize that this is nothing more than a searchable database of emergency information with a user interface and triggers — certainly useful, probably statutory, but not obvious or unique. Apparently, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office should hire people who understand technology.
Let’s write our own patent…

Method and system of recording and maintaining unique identity information
What is claimed is:
1. A computer-implemented method, comprising:

  • generating a pseudo-random sequence of numbers in a strictly defined format defined by the regular expression \d{3}\-\d{2}\-\d{4};
  • storing personal identifying information in a computer database;
  • storing such pseudo-random number sequence in a computer database;
  • establishing a link between personal identifying information and pseudo-random number sequence in a computer database, utilizing information previously stored in such database;
  • providing a user interface using a unique assembly of open and strictly formatted data entry fields for the purpose of entering personal identifying information into a computer database;
  • providing a user interface to automatically generate aforementioned pseudo-random number sequences and assign to individual personal identifying information, or to such information in groups (“batches”);
  • provide a user interface to query a computer database using a strict query-by-example design;
  • report on the results of said queries.

Congratulations! You just got a patent for a database to store and query on names, addresses, and Social Security numbers.

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