I had no idea that IBM held the patent on the "out-of-office reply." Did you?
IBM has been granted a patent for its out-of-office email system but has promised that it won't enforce it. The "invention", officially recognised in January, is described by the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) as "stupid patent of the month". The patent was filed in 2010 at a time when many tech firms made grabs for all kinds of technological innovations. IBM said that it would "dedicate the patent to the public".