As reported on Slashdot, Amazon has patented the ability to get bank information from data entered by a user from a cheque. Isn’t this roughly equivalent to getting my name when I enter it? Of course they need to calculate a checksum, but I’m pretty sure that calculation hasn’t changed in some time.
So why hasn’t someone patented the ability to enter text into a field on a web page? They could call it “Extraction of information from information entered by a user”. Just remember, I suggested it first. Sadly, I’ll probably read tomorrow that somebody has already been granted the patent.