Thursday, May 22, 2008

Patent Approved: Is This A Joke?

Under the title "Can the Publishing Industry Be Saved" was a press release describing a "Method and System for Customized Print Publication and Management." I was curious. I read the press release and it immediately made me wonder how anyone could get a patent for what was described. So I searched for the patent description. This looks to me like custom publishing which has been going on for forever but perhaps I am missing something: Like some thing patentable.

The following is a description of the patent application which has apparently been approved by the US Patent Office.
A method (Figure 3) for creating and managing customized print media through an enhanced content management process is disclosed. A print media customer, which may be an individual or organization, is profiled to determine content preferences (step 122). Profiling may be based on face-to-face or electronic surveys, Internet usage patterns, buying patterns, or other criteria. Content associated with the preferences is obtained and analyzed (step 124). Content affinities, or relationships between the content and other content in a content network, are determined, and may influence the print media produced (steps 128 and 130). A history of the content is maintained, to ensure content is not duplicated (step 126). Both substantive and non-substantive content, such as advertising content, is used. Both the content and layout of the print media can be customized (step 132).
The "steps" refer to a diagram. Further details of the above appear here. The description of the patent includes the following:

This invention provides a comprehensive method for effectively creating and managing customized print media through an enhanced content management process.

Summary of the Invention: In accordance with the embodiments described herein, method comprises customizing print media for organizations and individuals. The information for customization may derive from computer-based applications, internet-based sources, or more traditional, non-electronic survey techniques.

And then lastly,
While the invention has been described with respect to a limited number of embodiments, those skilled in the art will appreciate numerous modifications and variations therefrom. It is intended that the appended claims cover all such modifications and variations as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.
Is this yet another example of the USPO inability to guage real innovation versus patenting "processes." Or is PND over reacting?

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