This patent US6370535 broadly describes any news release with a headline and content. It's childishly simple and has absolutely no value. It simply documents the extraordinarily broad and intuitive process of creating a news release. Why is this a patent? Why would the USPTO give someone a patent on a generic process? I'm not a lawyer, but this appears to put any individual or company creating a news release with a headline in a position of infringing on a patent. I'm baffled. Please make sense of this.
The broadest claims do look really broad to me:
But It does has more substance than just any news release. It is a method for producing news releases in a predetermined format based on pulling the ingredients together from multiple databases. The fleshed out idea behind it is a menu driven Q and A with explanations and hints to help one produce a press release with a particular set of facts and points. Not earth-shattering, but probably new and non-obvious at the time. The examiner looked at nine other, earlier patents in the field and a similar number of magazine articles and found this doing something none of those did. Later claims, like 13 have more meat.
Still, claim 1 is really broad on its face and might have a harder time standing up than many of the dependent claims. (I assume it was granted at a time when the patentability pendulum had swung far to one side.)