It seems that a whole buncha corporate behemoths have just been attacked by a particularly delusional patent troll.
The defendents include Amazon, AOL and - get this - Google.
The patent's for automated email response systems. Slashdot's already quoted procmail as being good prior art. (dating back to 1990; the patent was filed in 1998). I also remember using infoservers during the summers of '88 and '89, particularly the one at Imperial College. This is before I got access to the Internet, so ftp/gopher/veronica etc weren't available. You'd sent an email to a server address asking for
listings of available packages, requesting that one or other would sent, and then you'd receive a whole *pile* of emails, each containing split, uuencoded chunks of the packages requested.
Google's supposed to be bidding *at least* $4.6 billion dollars in a frequency auction. Think they're gonna let a patent troll get near a warchest with that kind of change in it?