In a comment, Frank Wilhoit complained about my “you should be ashamed if your name is on a software patent” statement, referring to U.S. patent # 5969316 as one example of what should qualify for being patented (at least that’s my reading of his words).
Here’s the introductory text from the patent:
This invention involves the use of smart cards configured with data indicating a specific meal plan for use in the food vending industry. Examples of typical applications are student meal plans purchased in college or other school systems where the user purchases a plan allowing the user to eat specific meals or at specific times. Usually the meal plan is purchased at the beginning of the school term and terminates at the end of the school term. The invention uses a memory based smart card that is preconfigured on a specific date. The smart card contains data such as the meal plan type, the expiration date of the plan, the last transaction date, the user’s weekly quota of meals, the number of meals a user can eat in a day, the user’s daily quota and the operator identification. The smart card is configured by a computer at the start of the meal plan. Smart card readers are used to update data on the smart card and decrement existing data as the user purchases meals.
So, what do you think? Do I need to apologize?