Don't Let Me Stop You

What the heck, you'll do what you want anyway.

Inventions That Changed the World

Posted by Dan Draney on December 17, 2005

If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door. Watch for this invention, which is sure to have a big impact on everyone’s lives (H/T Lyle):

United States Patent
6,329,919
Boies , et al.
December 11, 2001

System and method for providing reservations for restroom use

Abstract
The present invention is an apparatus, system, and method for providing reservations for restroom use. In one embodiment, a passenger on an airplane may submit a reservation request to the system for restroom use. The reservation system determines when the request can be accommodated and notifies the passenger when a restroom becomes available. The system improves airline safety by minimizing the time passengers spent standing while an airplane is in flight.

Inventors: Boies; Stephen J. (Mahopac, NY); Dinkin; Samuel (Austin, TX); Moskowitz; Paul Andrew (Yorktown Heights, NY); Yu; Philip Shi-Lung (Chappaqua, NY) Assignee: International Business Machines Corporation (Armonk, NY) Appl. No.: 639254 Filed: August 14, 2000

Claims
What is claimed is:

1. A method of providing reservations for restroom use, comprising:
receiving a reservation request from a user; and
notifying the user when the restroom is available for his or her use.

2. The method according to claim 1, further comprising assigning a reservation number in response to the request.

3. The method according to claim 2, wherein said assigning the number assigns number based on a set of priority rules.

4. The method according to claim 2, wherein said assigning the number assigns number on a first come, first served basis.

5. The method according to claim 1, further comprising providing the user with an approximate waiting time.

6. The method according to claim 1, further comprising determining whether the reservation is cancelled.

7. The method according to claim 1, wherein said reservations are provided on an airplane.

8. The method according to claim 1, wherein said reservations are provided on a passenger train or boat.

9. The method according to claim 1, further comprising determining whether the user has entered the restroom within a predetermined time period.

10. A method of providing reservations for restroom use, comprising:
submitting a reservation request for restroom use; and
receiving notification when the restroom becomes available for use. […]

Believe it or not, there are 64 claims. Fortunately, it doesn’t appear that getting up and standing in line at the lavatory door will constitute infringement, at least not by the passengers. Airlines may want to consult “competent counsel” on this issue.

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