Sorry, missed your post, Robert.|
Budget launched this week a "name your own price" bidding site for off-rental vehicles. The controversy, vis a vis PCLN, has been reported, but can't remember where I saw it.
If Budget can offer this bidding service without violating PCLN's patent domain (quite conceivable), then PCLN will let it stand. If PCLN believes what Budget's doing is an invasion of its proprietary model, then it will go after Budget and this case will presumably become the first operational test of the validity and breadth of PCLN's patent protection. (The matter of third-party claims to "prior art" is a different issue.)
In any case, we ought to visit the Budget site and see what's up. Actually, Tom and the coach should go because they'll want to point out how Budget is abusing the PCLN patent with impunity.
In a way, I hope Budget becomes the poster child for this fight. It would be a good test case. If not, you know somebody else will be. My position is that patent protection isn't crucial, but it's a good source of publicity and will keep out mosquitos.
Are you guys aware, for example, that OMKT has a (technology, not process) patent on the virtual shopping cart? It certainly hasn't kept anyone out and OMKT isn't apparently pursuing offenders...yet.