Today’s winner is, once again, IBM. U.S. Patent No. 7,372,373 “Method and system to gauge and control project churn”:
1. A computer-implemented method to gauge and control churn of a project, comprising:
o determining an estimated project churn, wherein project churn includes any identifiable and unplanned changes to a scope of the project;
o identifying at least one task of the project requiring rework or modification;
o collecting heuristic information on each task of the project requiring rework or modification in response to any potential project changes for determining the estimated project churn, wherein collecting heuristic information comprises at least one of:
§ collecting a time to complete a same or a similar task in another project;
§ sampling a plurality of times to complete the same or similar task in a plurality of other projects; and
§ surveying a plurality of experienced project managers to provide an estimated time requirement to complete the task;
o entering at least optimistic, pessimistic and expected time requirements for reworking or modifying each task of the project requiring rework or modification in response to any potential project changes; and
o allocating resources in response to the estimated project churn based on the collected heuristic information and the at least optimistic, pessimistic and expected time requirements for each task of the project.
As 101 goes, I see absolutely no difference between this claim and Halligan’s. This claim should die under Bilski (even Comiskey – it’s just mental steps but for the words “computer implemented”).
And isn’t this method performed routinely by.. like…everyone who’s ever planned a project?
Ironic twist: IBM paid the issue fee on 10/30/08 – the day
of the Bilski decision.
Here’s a more interesting case. Assignee is Barclay’s. It’s U.S. Patent No. 7,471,086 ”Method of protecting an initial investment value of an investment”:
1. A method of protecting at least a portion of an initial investment value of an investment made by one or more investors, comprising the steps of:
· providing a regulated investment company;
· selecting a set of put option-based instruments having a first underlying reference and a set of call option-based instruments having a second underlying reference, the first underlying reference being the same as or substantially correlated to the second underlying reference, so that the set of put option-based instruments and the set of call option-based instruments collectively meet a diversification requirement for the regulated investment company;
· determining using an option-based instrument calculator:
o a first value of the set of put option-based instruments at initial investment of the set of put option-based instruments; and
o a second value of the set of call option-based instruments at initial investment of the set of call option-based instruments, so that the sum of the first value and the second value is less than the initial investment value;
· holding positions using the regulated investment company in the set of put option-based instruments and the set of call option-based instruments, so that the sets of put option-based instruments and call option-based instruments provide the at least a portion of the initial investment value at maturity of the investment; and
· making available the at least a portion of the initial investment value to the one or more investors upon the maturity of the investment.
This one is noteworthy for a few reasons:
1) It’s the first Bilski-questionable claim I’ve seen allowed that was examined *after* the Bilski decision (NOA is dated 11/18). But that may not mean much as this examiner appears to have been unaware of recent 101 decisions – the original, unamended claims, were even worse from a Bilski/Comiskey perspective (first steps were “registering a C corporation; electing the C corporation to be treated as a regulated investment company…”) but the only 101 rejection was under Nuijten because of the broad Beauregard claim (encompassing non-physical media).
2) Accelerated Examination. Filed in 8/2007, final OA in 5/2008. Overcome with an RCE.
3) It was filed by Charles Macedo of Amster, Rothstein & Ebenstein, who has given several presentations and papers on the 101 issue.
4) On the merits, the only “particular machine” in there is the “option-based instrument calculator”, which the specs describes only in functional terms (the figure shows a plain box representing this calculator). But it sounds pretty “particular”.
Happy new year.