What is a Business Patent?

Denver Patent Attorney Mark Trenner answers the question – what is a business patent? Learn whether it is possible to apply for a business patent in this patent attorney video.

A business patent is a misnomer. There is no such thing as a business patent. Usually when people ask about a business patent, they are asking about a business method patent. A business method patent protects a method or way of doing something related to a business. Can you get a patent for a business method?

It is difficult to get a business patent.

Business method patents were popular in the late 1990’s when the Internet first started to become a big deal. Businesses were putting things online that had been done for years and years and then claiming it was a new and unique idea because it could be done online. For example, many businesses were putting forms or applications (car insurance applications, and other types of registrations) online and calling it new because it had never been put on the Internet.

This gave business patents a bad reputation.

And rightfully so. Patents are intended to protect new and unique ideas. Simply taking a paper form and putting it online is not new and unique. So following a series of court decisions (including the U.S. Supreme Court weighing in on several occasions), these types of patents have largely been invalidated. The practice of applying for patents for these types of “inventions” has gone away for the most part.

Does this mean you cannot apply for a business patent?

Of course not. You can apply for a business method patent. The US Patent Office has an entire Technology Center dedicated to business method patents. Again, we go back to the fundamentals of patent law. If you have a new method (even a business method), talk to a patent attorney. Discuss the specifics of your invention. You may still have a good faith basis for applying for a patent for your invention.

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Learn more about patents with our patent attorney videos. Remember, the video is just general information. Always speak with a licensed patent attorney to avoid losing important legal rights to your invention. Check out our Online Patent Law Firm if you would like to find out if you can work with patent attorney Mark Trenner.