As it seems to reason, all shorthand textual communication is now patented by IBM. At least this is the conclusion I came to after reading the following on TechDirt–
theodp writes “The USPTO has granted IBM a patent covering the Resolution of Abbreviated Text in an Electronic Communications System, lawyer-speak for translating “IMHO” to “In My Humble Opinion” and vice versa. From the patent: “One particularly useful application of the invention is to interpret the meaning of shorthand terms…For example, one database may define the shorthand term ‘LOL’ to mean ‘laughing out loud.'”
I for one am interested in what implications this could have on our increasingly textual-heavy way of communicating with each other. Will it spell the end to such speech? Or is IBM merely patenting this concept so others will not abuse it? Only time will tell.