Business method patents continue to be important assets. Their significance continues to increase as new applications are developed that use the Internet.
However, claims to abstract ideas have never been patentable. But what is an abstract idea and what is a business method? That is an issue the courts have contemplated for many years, and is a question that continues to be examined by the courts.
In Bilski, the Supreme Court did not create a rigid formula describing which business methods are patentable and which are not. Therefore, this remains the primary issue to be addressed when drafting business method patent applications.
So what guidelines should business method patent seekers follow when filing their applications? The Federal Circuit’s “machine-or-transformation” test is one test to apply to business method patents. To satisfy this test, patent claims should include some physical structure. It is also recommended that the specification include some disclosure that also meets the machine-or-transformation test.
This post on Patents was authored by Paul Davis.