Yes, there's a patent on the "progress bar" concept. How many applications today use them? A few examples: loading a web page, installing operating system patches, booting your computer.
A dynamic progress marker icon is disclosed that dynamically changes to mark the progress of a task. In this manner, the user is kept informed of the status of a task being performed without resorting to language sensitive messages such as "Now processing object number 12 of 100".
Issued April 5, 1994. Under United States patent law, for patents filed before 1995, the term is 17 years from the issue date, or 20 years from the earliest claimed domestic priority date, whichever is longer. So this patent actually expired earlier this month (1994 + 17 = 2011).