Device For Splitting The Bill At A Restaurant Now Patented

from the thanks,-IBM dept

You may recall just a few months ago that a “showcased” Google spreadsheet for splitting the bill got some basic math wrong. After we pointed it out, Google Phd.’s apparently got to work and figured out how to properly split a bill. Perhaps part of the problem was that they didn’t have a newly approved US patent (found via Slashdot) from IBM on the basic concept of splitting the bill. The patent is actually for a device at a restaurant table, where multiple patrons can input how much they want to pay and the device keeps track to make sure the entire bill is paid. As the patent notes, earlier inventions allowed patrons to pay at the table. What was new about this patent, was the splitting of the bill part. The USPTO had originally rejected the patent, but that so-called “final rejection” was just overruled.

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Companies: ibm

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Comments on “Device For Splitting The Bill At A Restaurant Now Patented”

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Anonymous Coward says:


There is an easy way to do this. Many restaurants have been doing it for years. It’s simple, ask who is with who, and give each person a receipt for what they ordered.

Many restaurants enforce a large mandatory tip for groups… if they are going to be doing that, work for it instead of being lazy and making only one bill for a table.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Stupid

I’ve never seen a mandatory tip above 20%. I usually leave 20% assuming they didn’t screw up their jobs. Its tough living off of tips when people still think, “Dur, why should I tip them for doing their jobs?” and don’t realize they get paid through those tips. Tips is such a bad name for it because people think its something extra for the waitresses. Its not.

Anonymous Coward says:

If one is to accept that the patent does cover a useful, new, and non-obvious invention, I personally do not see any groundswell for adoption of the invention by businesses.

What troubles me in this instance is who is running IBM? I rather doubt its Board of Directors and senior executives see this and other similar inventions as an integral part and consistent with its business plan.

Personally, were I the General Counsel for IBM I would be asking the more fundamental question “You spent money out of our budget for what?!?!?!?”

Anonymous Coward says:

Why do we allow this stupidty

Was it patented by immigrants who came to America to work for IBM and didn’t know to pay the tip until no one would serve them?

Then, when it was shared why no one wanted to serve them, and they discussed their million dollar invention around an IHOP dinner table.. “This great idea, we must patent it”?

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