Is India Geared Up for Business Method Patent?

Introduction

Today technology is changing expeditiously. New technical inventions are taking place in huge number. These new inventions open new field of subject-matter for protection under Intellectual Property Law. Intellectual Property law gives an umbrella protection to new inventors. Patent provide protection for those line of process, products which are novel and are capable of proving that it involves an inventive step. USPTO grants maximum patents in a year. The paper written here advocates the invalidity of Business Method patent in Indian scenario. Business method today is capable of IP protection in countries like USA, Australia, Japan and New Zealand. India is against granting of protection to Business Method.

Definition: Business Method Patent

Business Patents are those patents which are given to business methods or business systems or like. A business method may be defined as “a method of operating any aspect of an economic enterprise”. Business method patents are part of a larger family of patents known as utility patents, which protect inventions, chemical formulas, processes, and other discoveries. A business method is classified as a process, because it is not a physical object like a mechanical invention or chemical composition.

Background To Business Method Patents

Business Method Patents were not considered as a subject matter for protection under Patent Law. Earlier Business Method was considered as an abstract idea and was thus not falling under the purview of Patents. But by a decision by a Federal Court even Business Method have been granted patent protection. Section 101 of US Patent Act defines Inventions which are capable of Patent protection.

A combine reading of Sections 101, 102, 103 and 112 will lead to following construction:

o Any process, machine or composition of matter may be patented if;

o It is new (Novelty Section 102), Non-obvious (Section 103) and is capable of adequate description and invention (Section 112).

Protection Under TRIPS

TRIPS also provide subject matter for patent protection. Article 27 paragraph 1 of the agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Rights (TRIPS) provides that “patents shall be available for any inventions, whether products or processes, in all fields of technology, provided that they are new, involve an inventive step and are capable of industrial application…”

Further, Article 27 paragraph 2 of the TRIPS agreement permits Members to “exclude from patentability inventions, the prevention within their territory of the commercial exploitation of which is necessary to protect order public or morality, including to protect human, animal or plant life or health or to avoid serious prejudice to the environment, provided that such exclusion is not made merely because the exploitation is prohibited by their law.”

Cases In Which Business Method Was Upheld

Concept of Business method patent is now a decade old. State Street case is an important decision in this regard. Further developments have taken place after this judgment.

Business Method was considered as an exception to Patent protection until 1998. The first case of this kind was filed in the year 1908. In Hotel Security case the question was whether business methods can be said to be patentable. Here the case rejected the argument of it being capable of protection and created a per se exception to business methods. It was until year 1998 that this position was accepted.

1. State Street Bank v. Signature Financial Group, Inc.

In the present case the District Court had rejected application for Business Method Patent on the said process of “hub and space”. But Later the Federal Circuit confirmed that there is no rule which prohibits the patentability of “business methods.” The Court stated “The judicially-created business method exception to patentability is . . . an unwarranted encumbrance to the definition of statutory subject matter in section 101 that should be discarded as error-prone, redundant, and obsolete.” It merits retirement from the glossary of section 101. Patentability does not turn on whether the claimed method does “business” instead of something else, but on whether the method, viewed as a whole, meets the requirements of patentability as set forth in Sections 102, 103, and 112 of the Patent Act.

Federal Court further clarified that it was never intended that business methods should be kept out of the subject matter. Rather in earlier few cases claim was rejected due to incapability of those methods to be taken as inventions. Thus, State Street confirmed that business methods can be patented if they meet the statutory requirements of utility, novelty and non-obviousness.

2. Amazon.com Inc. v. Barnsandnoble.com

In this case one-click patent to Amazon.com was criticized by few writers on the ground of it being “unplanned mutation”. Here an injunction was granted to Barnes & Noble for not using the said feature. This case clearly reflects drawbacks that can arise in case a business patent is protected in countries which are still developing their technologies. Later part of my paper deals with disadvantage that granting a business method patent can have.

Amendments Brought After State Street Case

Now that the situation is clear with respect to business method patents in US laws, it can be said that business method are capable of granting patent protection. But in order that no ambiguity remains the USPTO publicly announced that in terms of granting protection sufficient prior art search should be undertaken.

1. Class 705

A new classification (Class 705) was introduced for the filing of business method patents under the more generic utility patent applications: “Data processing: financial, business practice, management or cost/price determination.” Specifically, Class 705 includes sub-categories for industries such as health care, insurance, electronic shopping, inventory management, accounting, and finance.

2. Amendment In Title 35

Section 100 Title 35, United States Code, was amended to provide for improvements in the quality of patents on certain inventions. Thus, ‘Business Method Patent Improvement Act of 2000”was passed. The term business method patent has been defined under the Act. What is surprising is the fact that under the definition any “technique used in Athletics” can also be qualified as a Business Method Patent.

Interim Guidelines

For providing better uniformity in the system Interim Guidelines were published for Examination of Patent Applications for Patent Subject Matter Eligibility on October 26, 2005

Lacunas Prevalent In Method Adopted At USPTO

It has been observed that the method of granting patent in USPTO is without a substantial base. Patents at USPTO are granted not on a quality basis, rather on quantity basis. The following are serious lacunas which should be given a serious thought:-

1. In USPTO examiners are not properly trained to search prior art. Prior art search is scattered and hence proper care is required while doing a prior art search. But since the examiners are not provided with enough resources quality somewhere lacks while granting a Patent

2. Further it has been observed that in USPTO examiners get bonuses on allowing a patent rather than rejecting it. Hence the result can be seen more the acceptance by examiners, more the bonus. The process should change and bonus should be given only while rejecting a patent.

3. Once a patent is granted USPTO doesn’t conduct a review or quality control.

4. Mostly claims use ambiguous language which leads to more confusion in mind of patent examiner.
Thus affecting the quality of specific invention.

Disadvantage O Granting a Business Method Patent

1. Once a patent is granted for an invention it is capable of securing the rights of patentee for a period of 20 years. Thus it can be well understood that if patent is granted for a business method then it would obstruct new technological research for the next 20 years to come.

2. Granting a patent on business method would create a monopolistic situation which would hinder growth. It would mean an unhealthy competition.

Advantage Of Granting A Business Method Patent:

1. Copyright protection is insufficient to protect Business method. All Research and Development that is done requires that something more that Copyright protection should be given in order to reward Business ideas.

2. Start-ups should be encouraged. New companies would benefit with a concept of such kind. Initially patent protection to such starting groups would definitely benefit them in order to have a strong stand in front of powerful companies. Business method patents create the artificial scarcity needed to preserve market power and restore the incentive to innovate.

Solution For A Business Method Protection

1. The paper here accepts granting of business patents but not at the cost of technological or economical growth. Thus in order to benefit both inventor and other co-inventors in line it would be better to grant patent protection only for a limited period of 3 years for Business method Patents. Thus law should help in sustaining a collaborative effort.

2. Change in the Patent System at USPTO is also required. The one sentence rule should be eliminated so as to faciltitate clearer language. Thus, it would help patent examiners and also leave less scope for manuplation by patent lawyers. Also person applying should disclose his computer code to the patent examiner.

3. Salary of Patent examiners should be increased. Also USPTO should give bonuses on rejecting a patent application rather than on accepting it as earlier mentioned in paper.

Should Patent Be Granted On Business Method In India

India is a developing economy. We are still unable to cope up with many threats like poverty, unemployment and population. In global market India is considered as a growing economy. Our youths are taking India to greater heights. All this reflect that we require a technological and economical boom. It needs to be mentioned that countries which have granted business method patents are developed countries. Conformance with TRIPS is particularly slow in developing countries, notably Argentina, Brazil, India and Egypt. Further I believe that granting a business method patent in India would impede technological growth in our country. Hence I am of opinion that business method patent should not be granted in India.

Conclusion

With boom in intellect ideas in corporate world it is required that these should be protected and respected. But fortification of these ideas by means of patent might not be profitable at this stage in developing countries. Grant of business method patent in US saw mixed reactions from experts of law. Moot problem was the modus operandi for granting of business method patent at USPTO. US have also drafted an Act called Business Method Patent Improvement Act of 2000 with respect to protection of business methods ironically athletic techniques are also within the purview of Business methods.

Patent over a particular invention protects it for a period of twenty years. Thus a patentee acquires an exclusive right over it (subject to Patent Act) and thus has right to prevent infringement of it during the said period. Thus in case of protection to business method the patentee would be in a position to stop the claimant of patent for a period of 20 years. Thus it would imply that business related methods/ideas would be retarded for such a long period. It can be thus concluded that Business method may be granted but it should be granted for a lesser duration of time and preference should be given to new companies. Thus Indian Patent system may move a step ahead for grant of Business method patent in future but not at present. It would be beneficial that there is no amendment in Section 2(k) of Indian Patent Act, 1970 for the next five years.

Pursue an Online Bachelors Degree Education

“A class with no walls” would be a concept that surprises at least some. But this is what technology has brought to us. When we think of earning a bachelor degree we all think of the traditional education system where we have to go t a college daily and listen to the lectures. But this is no more the trend. You can easily acquire a bachelor degree online.

The online degree course will provide you with all the facilities that you need to pursue. The exposure that you get will be sometimes more when compared to the traditional system. A major advantage of such a program is that you can choose your own time for the study. This will help you to carry on with other works in the mean time. Those who are working need not compromise with their career.

Many people try to pursue online bachelor degree in order to get a promotion in their existing job or to find a more lucrative job without compromising with the existing one. Those who find it difficult to go to a college due to personal or some other reasons will also gain from this. You can acquire your degree in arts, science, business and even education. Yes, you can acquire an online bachelor’s degree education.

If you have a job and still dream of becoming a teacher don’t worry. You can easily enroll yourself with an online college and grab your degree. In order to get a bachelor degree usually one has to spend at least 3 to 4 years in a college. With the online system you can get your degree in less than 18 months.

Usually online bachelors degree education takes four years to complete. You can work according to your pace. But you will need to submit the projects and assignments exactly at the time specified by your mentor. Another major advantage of an online course is that you can interact with professionals across the world who is working in the same field as yours. Moreover you can easily interact with your mentor which is mostly impossible in a class room system.

Many universities specify that you will need to do 60 semester hours of course work to get your degree in education. But don’t feel disappointed. There are universities which will help you to do your course work at a faster pace if you wish to finish it at a fast. Like in a traditional system an online bachelor degree in education will also help to face a class room with confidence and become an excellent teacher. The degree that you get online will be given an equal footage with the degree that is acquired under the traditional class room system.

There are number of universities which offer bachelors degree education online. But you need to do a lot of research before you enroll yourself with one. Or else it is easy for you to get cheated. There are lot of universities without accreditation who trap students only with the aim of gaining profit. So, make sure that the university that you have chosen is accredited under the specified norms.

You also need to look out for the syllabus and make sure that it suits your purpose. If you wish to join an online bachelors degree education course now, don’t hesitate start your research and enroll yourself as soon as possible.

Stock Market Tips – Guidelines For Successful Investing

When many people prepare to make their first couple of purchases in the stock market, they are usually filled with excitement and very optimistic that they’ve chosen companies that will provide them with an opportunity for making a profit, or at least earning significant dividends over the long term. The only problem is that few new investors take the time to become truly educated about the complicated terminology and processes involved with the stock market before they plunk their money down. If you’re going to be successful as an investor, here are some important stock market tips to keep in the back of your mind.

One of the most important stock market tips to take to heart is advice from one of the world’s most successful investors, Warren Buffet. Mr. Buffet has been quotes many times as saying that you should only invest in what you know. This means that if you’ve worked in the banking industry, you should stick to currency and bank financing. If you’re passionate about the fashion industry, it’s probably a good idea for you to invest in clothing companies or something similar. This is good advice because you’ll be able to build on your existing knowledge about how the industry works, and won’t have to start your research from scratch.

Another one of the most important stock market tips is that there is no amount of research or strategizing that can substitute for your own common sense and patience. It’s important that investors never get so comfortable or confident in their own trading ability that they forget that there is always risk involved with the market. Although there are strategies for predicting market movement, they are never guaranteed, and it’s always possible that you can misinterpret market signals and lose money if you’re not careful.

Lastly, it’s important to make sure that you’re taking your stock market tips from someone that is worthy of your time and respect. Whether you enroll in an investing class, sign up for membership in an online community of experienced investors, or work with an online brokerage tool that provides resources for analyzing charts and trends, it’s important that you have a support system for questions and uncertainties as they arise. These resources can help you to notice market signals that you might have otherwise missed, or alert you to a promising stock that you hadn’t been tracking. There’s no reason to make common mistakes when others have already made them before you.