Another huge disappointment from the US Patent and Trademark Office: They let Microsoft patent a feature that has been part of UNIX systems for almost 30 years (Original source: Groklaw). sudo allows you to execute a program with the privileges of the superuser (root, admin etc.). Also, remember that su (e.g. via su -c) has this functionality built in as well, just without the beautiful configuration options.
This should once again demonstrate why software patents are a dangerous, stupid thing.