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.