The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last week issued a patent to IBM for "intelligent travel planning."

The patented process covers receiving a user's trip requirements and preferences, searching travel options, building an itinerary based on "relative weights for preference information" and purchase history, obtaining a response from the user to the proposed itinerary and making the relevant reservations.

There's more to it. The patent application also references itinerary changes and decision-making that incorporates local info on weather, events, road closures and traffic data.

The described innovations appear to . . .

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