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   A valid business method patent?
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   Author  Topic: A valid business method patent?  (Read 3235 times)
Talib
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A valid business method patent?
« on: Jan 24th, 2007, 9:51am »
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Hi all,
 
I've got an idea for which I've already applied for a provisional patent.  In a nutshell, I've created a method for modeling ad industry media consumption and media buys using the structure of the physical atom as a basis.
 
While the model could be created by hand or using a graphics program if someone had lots of time, it would be much easier for practitioners to use as part of a dedicated software program.  However, the software program is not necessary, but the model would be far more effective with the sotware.
 
In my mind, I am patenting a business process.  There are calculations that need to be done -- as well as some data associations -- before the model can actually be done correctly.  If I am patenting a process itself (instead of software), is it more helpful to show the model as it might look within software or is it sufficient to demonstrate the model itself in the figures?  I suppose a related question is would what I'm describing be a business method at all or would it fall under some other type of patent?  
 
Thanks,
Talib
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J.Choules
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Re: A valid business method patent?
« Reply #1 on: Apr 17th, 2007, 2:47am »
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"would what I'm describing be a business method at all or would it fall under some other type of patent? "  
 
It sounds like a business method to me however from your description it may be an abstract idea and thus non statutory (This would be determined by looking at the specific language and steps of the claims and can not be determined from your description other than it sounds like it would be a problem.)  The examiner currently looks to the claim in a business method to determine if the claimed method provides tangible concrete and useful results (basically does it provide something real in the end).  If not it is rejected as an abstract idea.
 
"If I am patenting a process itself (instead of software), is it more helpful to show the model as it might look within software or is it sufficient to demonstrate the model itself in the figures?"
 
I would suggest writing a specification describing both the process itself and its implementation on a computer.  And provide any figures necessary to understand the specification. If the software implementation is clear by reading the specification the figures may only need to show the model.  Also, I would suggest a set of claims to the both the software and the method.  Think of it this way, if someone infringes by selling the software to perform the method you would want to go after the software vendor not just the people that use the software and thus perform the method.  Doing that should be more clear cut if there are claims to the software implementation.    
 
Retired Examiner (My views no longer reflect the views of the office, not that they ever did except when I signed an action.)
« Last Edit: Apr 17th, 2007, 2:52am by J.Choules » IP Logged
JimIvey
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Re: A valid business method patent?
« Reply #2 on: Apr 18th, 2007, 10:35am »
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First, it should be noted that there is no such thing as a "business method patent" in US patent law.  There was once speculation that such an exclusion to patent-eligible subject matter existed, but that speculation turned out to be wrong.
 
In terms of whether your specific idea is "statutory" (patent-eligible subject matter), there are ways to characterize and claim your invention in a "statutory" manner.  How you write your application matters.  You should select one or more strategies for arguing that you claim patent-eligible material and write your application in a manner consistent with those strategies.  
 
To get a better sense of what's eligible and what's not, you should review MPEP 2106: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/documents/2100_2106.htm#sect21 06
 
As to how to describe your innovation in your application, it depends on your particular strategy/ies.
 
Regards.
« Last Edit: Apr 18th, 2007, 10:36am by JimIvey » IP Logged

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James D. Ivey
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MrSnuggles
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Re: A valid business method patent?
« Reply #3 on: Jul 2nd, 2007, 2:40pm »
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Even though your concept may be a business method, it may be preferable to frame it as a hardware solution, if you can claim it appropriately.  Getting into an examination group other than 705 can decrease the pendency and (may) increase your chances of obtaining a patent.
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