You either have read about "systems and methods" patents or run into or afoul of them: patents granted for "systems and methods" of carrying out obvious steps in simple processes
. Something like a patent granted for filling in a Web form that places a person on a mailing list to receive coupons. <- THAT is a "system and method".
You should do a search for GPS based "systems and methods". EVERY OBVIOUS use of GPS coordinates is being subjected to a claim of intellectual property exclusvity.
Had enough of systems and methods patents? Don't want to wait until someone attempts to squeeze money out of your pocket by claiming that your elemental/obvious database queries resemble their patented "system and method" . . of database queries?
Due to a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is currently considering rewriting the rules for the granting of patents for "systems and methods" patents. You have until September 27th, 2010, to foward an email expressing your views to the USPTO.
More details here: (USPTO press release)
and here (Free Software Foundation site):