Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Business Method Monday -- A Little Late

Business Methods Monday: Part 3, Class 705 Schedule Changes, Classification Order 1892

This installment to “Business Methods Monday” is part 3 of a 5 part series covering changes to Class 705 under Classification Order 1892. As noted previously, this revised Schedule was inserted by the USPTO between Subclass 705/45 and 705/400, with the exception of Digital Rights Management, 705/901-912, which is for cross-reference Discretionary classification listings only, which will be discussed in a future installment. All of the 4,000 documents Mike and I reclassified for this project where originally classified as 705/1. As a reminder, anything classified in Class 705 must involve apparatus or method applied to data processing operations applied to some type of business processes.

Under discussion here are the Subclasses 326-328, 329 and 330-341. This section of the Schedule is included below for reference. For the complete Schedule and Definitions for 300 through 348, use this link to get to the Classification Order.

326 . Education administration or guidance

327 .. Education institution selection, admissions, or financial aid

328 .. Career enhancement or continuing education service

329 . Fundraising management

330 . Shipping

331 .. Overseas transaction

332 .. Special goods or handling procedure

333 .. Tracking

334 .. Choice of carrier

335 ... Pricing

336 .. Relationship between shipper or supplier and a carrier

337 .. Carrier internal procedure

338 ... Routing method

339 .. Central recipient pick-up

340 .. Return transaction

341 .. Historical data

Right from the start, there is serious 326 through 341 subject matter conflict with subject matter that is higher in the 705 Schedule. The USPTO “Handbook of Classification” specifies that a Claim is classified in the first occurring Subclass that accepts the Claimed subject matter at least in part or in whole. These are the classification rules that all Examiners and Classifiers are required to follow. The USPTO Examiners consider subject matter that belongs in 705/7 to be evaluation of business operations, i.e., research or analysis, which is applied to management, planning, organizing, directing, decision making or controlling of an enterprise. 705/8 subject matter is considered any of those operations of 705/7 that are further applied to business resource planning, scheduling, allocation, distribute or routing. Resources of a business are any asset or commodity used by or made by a business, such as staff including contracted staff, business capital and intellectual property such as patents, trademarks, and trade secrets, then hard assets, such as computers, servers, printers, office supplies, manufacturing tooling, inventory goods, inventory or product distribution systems, transportation assets, and finally, the manufactured products or services of a business. The above is based on direct conversations with various Class 705 Examiners regarding what they consider 705/7 and 705/8 subject matter, which is backed up by USPTO Patents and Applications classification in 705/7 and 705/8. The conflicts noted with both 705/7 and 705/8 were pointed out during the Classification Order 1892 project to the USPTO, and later still, in relationship to another 705 Classification Order project, which as yet, has not been published.

Based on the Definitions for required subject matter for the 326, 329 and 330 arrays, the operations also are clearly 705/7 analysis applied to management, planning, organizing, directing, or controlling of an enterprise and at times 705/8 demand driven resource distribution. Specifically in 326, conducting, organizing, or maintaining management functions, institution or course selection, assistance programs; in 329, developing, organizing or monitoring the organized activity of soliciting and collecting money; in 330, arrangement for the delivery of goods or items between parties, or for the monitoring of the status of that delivery. Shipping notably, clearly involves demand driven resource distribution, and the same can be said for resources in fund raising or various education programs.

The net of all this: For the subject matter under discussion here, the Primary or Original classification will stop somewhere in the 705/7 array, and if that subject matter additionally claims detail in the 326 through 341 arrays, these Subclass can only be listed as a Discretionary classification listing…short of outright ignoring the USPTO “Handbook of Classification” rules.

That said; let’s take a look at subject matter that can at least be classified as a Discretionary classification in the 326 through 341 arrays.

Subclass 326 “Education administration or guidance”, through 328, cover education institutions administrative operations. The Definition for subject matter entry in 326 reads, “Subject matter drawn to a computerized arrangement for (1) the business of conducting, organizing, or maintaining the management functions of an organization concerned with teaching , (2) the management of the process of institution or course selection, or (3) the management of assistance programs.”. Basically, this could cover all educational institution administrative operations, some of which will be resource management, such as assistance programs and course selection. This is further broken out in the 2 Dot indents:

327 “Education institution selection, admissions, or financial aid” associated with financial aid, which Claim dependent, must be considered for 705/8 resource distribution means, financial operations in 705/30 and 705/35.

328 “Career enhancement or continuing education service” deals with the institutions analysis related to continuing education services, including career changes and credits given for work experience.

Next is 329 “Fundraising Management”, which has been defined as “Subject matter drawn to a computerized arrangement for a system for developing, organizing or monitoring the organized activity of soliciting and collecting money for a nonprofit or political organization” which is first a 705/7 operational process, developing, organizing or monitoring the organized activity, which may claims financial resource allocation operations that fall into 705/8. Some can be in 705/30 and 705/35.

Subclass 330 “Shipping”, has been defined as “Subject matter drawn to a computerized arrangement for the delivery of goods or items between parties, or for the monitoring of the status of that delivery”. Again, this is subject matter that will stop in 705/7 array, most in 705/8 administrative arrangement for the delivery of goods or items between parties or scheduling for shipping goods or items between parties. NOTE: All the 2 Dot indents to 330 that follow must first include arrangement for the delivery of goods or items between parties, or for the monitoring of the status of that delivery, and also claim detail that is defined in a Subclass below:

331, “Overseas transaction”, covers shipping a resource internationally, and could include administrative operations for security, inspections and bounding procedures for shipped goods.

332, “Special goods or handling procedure”, covers any unique requirement for the resource being shipped, such as required environmental conditions during transit, shock prevention during transport, shipping time associated with product life cycle such as for foods, medical commodities, etc.

333, “Tracking”, which covers methodology for tracking shipped resources that are in-transit, by the carrier or by a client/recipient.

334 “Choice of carrier”, covers analysis applied to picking a specific carrier for shipping, which may be an internal process or a process done by the client/recipient, which moves to the 3 Dot indent 335 “Pricing” if price is claimed as a determining factor for the carrier choice.

336, “Relationship between shipper or supplier and a carrier”, which is defined as “…computerized arrangement directed at handling the transactions between a shipper or supplier of goods and the carrier who will deliver the goods” that are for the delivery of goods or items between parties or for the monitoring of the status of that delivery”. Note that 333 “Tracking” operations stop higher.

337 “Carrier internal procedure” for delivery of goods, which is very broad, with a 3 Dot indent, 338, “Routing method”, where the internal procedure for delivery of goods is applied to methodology for routing the resource being shipped.

339 “Central recipient pick-up” cover methods for shipping to a central location where the methodology further includes means for the recipient of the goods to pick up the shipped product.

340 “Return transaction” for processes of sending of received goods back to a supplier or manufacturer.

341 “Historical data”, that from the Definition is “…information collected in shipping transactions such as customer data, established routes, load history and cost information” that is applied to arrangement for the delivery of goods or tracking status of that delivery.

Mike Bowman will cover in Part 4 705/342-344, 345, 346, 347, 348, which cover management of business documents, business data distribution, subscriber document publication, employee and customer communications, means for business rating and business modeling. I will follow that up with Part 5, covering 705/901-912: Digital rights management.

Business Methods Monday is the work of Sean Henderson and Mike Bowman. The delay in posting this week's update is mine.

Stay tuned.

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