AT&T Seeks Patent For Limiting Access To U.S. Workers
from the this-is-patent-worthy? dept
Beyond the ridiculousness of the very concept, I've heard such an idea talked about for years. It's a pretty straightforward and obvious idea -- but it's one that few others were interested in implementing (or patenting) as it would likely piss off users. Apparently AT&T doesn't worry about such things. In the meantime, in March of 2004 (about a year and a half before AT&T filed for its patent), I wrote about how the company E-Loan was offering something quite similar. Rather than an upfront payment, E-Loan offered customers a choice of an onshore or offshore call center person, with the knowledge that an offshore support person would help them get a loan faster and an onshore one would take longer. That seems pretty similar to the idea of paying -- it's just that the cost is in time instead of money. Even if this isn't direct prior art, it certainly suggests that these types of ideas have been floating around for quite some time and hardly should be entirely "owned" by one company.