Joerg just mailed me with a diagram of the business model used by Netflix to back up their (successful) patent application. What is striking is the range of things that it now seems possible to patent. I can still remember all the fuss that was caused by Amazon's shopping cart. That seems so, so long ago. Perhaps that is the real casualty of the dot.com bust: in the urge to return to profitability patenting standards may be dropping, bigtime.
Meanwhile, over at slashdot Cmdr Taco has started off a thread on the topic:
A few folks noted a new patent showing up from netflix. They apparently now have a patent on their model of subscribing to rentals- where instead of being charged per disc, you are charged a monthly fee and can keep the rentals indefinitely without late fees. You can patent anything! Get on the bus!