"The to-do list. It's a common enough task that no one
would ever attempt to patent it as a general process of making a
list. But Microsoft has decided that a to-do list specific to
programming is worthy of protection and filed a patent covering it.
"In March 2000 Microsoft filed such a patent carrying number
6,748,582 and entitled "Task list window for use in an integrated
"Here's the short description:
"A method, apparatus, and software are disclosed for assisting a
software developer in managing tasks to be completed by providing a
task list as a unified location for developers to locate errors and
warnings in code, as well as specify user-defined tasks. The task
list is updated in "real time" as the developer completes tasks and
generates new tasks.
"What this translates to is a system whereby a programmer can
add to-do tasks as comments to their code which then get
automatically generated into a task list in a separate pane."