Patents are not only for technology, but also methods, apparatuses, and operations as well. Consider the assembly line. This is a business method of manufacturing that was first developed by Henry Ford, founder of Ford, the automobile company. The assembly line revolutionized the ability to mass-produce products, and for as long as his business method patent lasted, his company was the only one allowed to use it without paying him first.

This isn’t a product or a piece of technology, but rather a process. It was eventually used to mass-produce all kinds of products. Yet, it has the same kind of intellectual property protection as the products it was used to produce. Because patents are used for two different types of IP, they needed different review processes for when they’re filed, challenged, and reviewed. The Post-Grant Review (PGR) for business methods is called the Covered Business Method Review (CBM).

What is the Covered Business Method Review?

When you file for a patent, it has to be reviewed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. They handle Post-Grant Reviews for technology patents and business method patents.

When they receive your patent petition, they need to review it and decide whether they should or shouldn’t approve it. Concerns can be raised to them about the validity of the patent, though they can and do find issues with patents themselves after comparing them to existing patents. If there’s an issue, they begin a trial, which is called a Covered Business Method Review.

During this trial, you and your patent law attorneys can argue why your patent should be accepted. Competitors and others may argue why your patent should not be accepted, or at least, not accepted as is.


The Importance of Business Method Patents

One business method patent changed the way the world economy worked and how businesses operate and produce goods. The creation of the assembly line deeply influenced the Industrial Revolution, and the way capitalism and work culture dominated the lives of people across the world for decades. Business methods are not something that can go unregulated.

That being said, business method patents can receive more scrutiny and pushback. It was less than preferred by business owners around the country that they should have to pay dividends to one business that owns a new business method until the patent expires. A quality business method can revolutionize not only a business but an entire industry. This means that every business wants to own a business method patent, and no one wants to be the second.

The Differences Between CBM and PGR

Post-Grant Reviews (PGRs) are for patents on new technology. While they are both ways of reviewing patents, they are not the same. PGRs were originally the only way, but to help regulate business, the United States created another method for reviewing other types of patents.

This means while PGRs can be for anything, CBMs are only for business methods. Their differences do not end there. They’re also available to different people. PGRs are only available to the first-inventor-to-file, where CBMs are available to the first-inventor-to-file and first-to-invent. This means that if someone can prove they invented their business method before someone else who already filed the patent, they can file a patent petition.

While this doesn’t mean that original inventors don’t have legal rights to sue someone who files their technology patent before them, the United States Patents and Trademarks Office has less to do with the situation.

Have a Patent Law Attorney File Your Patent Petition Today

When you have a new business method that you want to file, don’t just file it without having it reviewed by a legal professional. There are several different ways to file it incorrectly, and then there are several different ways for someone to scrutinize it and tear it down. The best way to make sure that your patent is successful in gaining approval is to get help from a patent law attorney.

The patent law attorneys at Emerson Thomson Bennett have extensive experience with filing patent petitions. Then, should the patent face a challenge, our attorneys have the experience you need to defend your business method patent in a Covered Business Method Review.

If you can successfully file a patent for a new quality business method, your business will be ahead of the competition. This isn’t the time to take risks, so contact the patent law attorneys at ETB today for help.

John Skeriotis

Partner – Litigation Practice Chair

John Skeriotis

Areas of Practice

Intellectual Property, Patent, Trademarks, Copyright, Internet Law, Litigation, Licensing







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