COMMUNICATION OF COUNSEL: Business method patent

21 Apr 2003 13:25:44 -1000
From: Patent Attorney

Rodney: Thanks for sending me a copy of your most interesting business
plan. You are remarkably creative and I always enjoy seeing what you
have thought of next.

It is always difficult to predict what new business methods may merit
patent protection. The USPTO has recently been the subject of
considerable criticism regarding what many believe to be overly broad
business method patents. As a result, the standards for review of such
patents have increased significantly.

With this background, while I think you have some fascinating ideas in
your proposal, I'm not sure you have any that are sufficiently developed
and focused to justify a business method patent at this time. 

These patents are easier to secure when linked to software models. Parts
of your business plan suggest that this may be developed down the line.
At that point, it might be worth revisiting the concept. But you will
need to have your software development sufficiently along to provide
detailed flow-charts of the process, at the least, I suspect.

You should understand that a business method patent can be quite
expensive (over $10,000), so I would also suggest that it will be to
your benefit to have as much focus and certainty to your business method
as possible before filing. Note, however, that you must file your
application within one year of the first date of public sale or use of
your invention.

I hope this helps answer your inquiry. Don't hesitate to give me a call
if you would like to discuss this further.