Actually it’s a published application, not an issued patent.
From Tech Law Advisor:
Since the passage of the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999, U.S. patent applications are published 18 months after they are filed, unless applicants request nonpublication (and state that they will not file for foreign patents). If foreign patent protection is not desired and if the invention cannot be reverse engineered, it generally makes sense to request nonpublication, so that if your pending U.S. application is finally denied or abandoned, you can still keep your invention a trade secret.
This is a patent application, not an issued patent. You can find out the status of patent applications from the USPTO’s PAIR database by entering the application’s serial number (09/773,298), which in this case shows that the USPTO issued a non-final rejection (which is standard operating procedure on the majority of the USPTO’s first responses to patent applications) on 01/26/04.
If Slashdot’s report that Idea Flood is sending out letters to potential licensees is correct, then it may be an indicator that the applicant believes it has a good chance of convincing the USPTO to issue the patent.