Monday, March 22, 2010

Business Method Monday --General Business Methods Schedule Changes -- Introduction

Additional large changes in the USPTO's Business Methods schedule will soon appear. In early February 2010, USPTO released Classification Order 1892, which expands subclass 705/1, AUTOMATED ELECTRICAL FINANCIAL OR BUSINESS PRACTICE OR MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENT to 49 new subclasses from 705/300--348, and 12 new subclasses in a cross-reference art collection from 705/901--912. This post begins a series in which Sean and I will describe these changes and the new inventive content they explicitly cover.

General business methods inventions that were not otherwise classifiable in Class 705 either above 705/1 in the schedule (art dealing with business processing using cryptography, or with electronic negotiation), or below it in numerous other subclasses, have been classified here. USPTO undertook a reclassification project over the past couple of years to analyze the patents and pre-grant publications (i.e., patent applications) that had accumulated in subclass 705/1 and break them out into new subclasses. This new structure has not yet migrated to the USPTO's Manual of Classification, but it soon will.

Our upcoming series will address the following topics:
  • Part 1: New subclasses covering work collaboration, products and services, intellectual property and legal services, and real estate
  • Part 2: Inventions in the areas of business or product certification, social networking, human resources, destination assistance within a business, and personal security
  • Part 3: New breakouts on education, fundraising, and shipping
  • Part 4: Business documentation, employee and customer communications, business ratings, and business modeling
  • Part 5: Digital rights management

Reclassification projects, and the new structure they form in the patent landscape, represent opportunities for inventors to help define the body of art in newly created subclasses. Holders of patent portfolios also might want to re-evaluate their holdings in light of schedule and definition changes, and art assigned by USPTO to each new subclass, to determine whether the potential exists for legal exposure, either positive or negative.

If you have questions or specific areas you'd like to see us cover, leave us a comment. We'll do our best to include your comments in our posts.

We look forward to sharing our thoughts in this series,


Business Methods Monday is the work of Michael L. Bowman and Sean Henderson

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