Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Business Method Monday -- Products, Social Networking, Cap & Trade and Wayfinding

This week, I'll discuss new business methods subclasses 705/317 through 325, which deal with inventions in the areas of business or product certification, social networking, human resources, destination assistance within a business, and personal security. You can view this section of the schedule in Classification Order 1892. These schedule changes have not yet migrated to the online Manual of Classification on USPTO's web page. This portion of the schedule is shown here:

317 . Business or product certification or verification
318 .. Product, service, or business identity fraud
319 . Social networking
320 . Human resources
321 .. Employment or hiring
322 .. Benefits package
323 . Destination assistance within a business structure or complex
324 .. Building evacuation
325 . Personal security, identity, or safety

Business or product certification or verification. This new subclass, "705/317, covers inventions ". . . for documentation, data collection, processing or monitoring to ensure the veracity or factuality of the status of an entity's qualifications, either required or claimed by that entity in execution of a business requirement or legal process." A clarifying note brings in a very broad range of content:

* land use by an entity
* carbon credits, emissions, abatement
* product compliance
* clinical trials
* trade agreements
* licensing
* degree verification
* government test
* regulatory compliance
* continuing education requirements
* safety compliance
* documentation of legal proceedings, such as courtroom transcripts.

Other notes (termed "See or Search" notes) under this definition direct inventions ". . . including analysis of business processes or operations research" to subclass 705/7, or to subclass 705/311 ". . . for the management of the work performed by a lawyer for a client." Sean discussed this latter subclass last week.

Indented below 705/317 is 705/318, for Product, service, or business identity fraud. This subclass is ". . . for the analysis or detection of (1) illegitimate use of a product or service, misrepresentation of the authenticity of products or services, (2) approved sources of products or services, or (3) the coding or marking of product with data used for authentication." The use of the word "analysis" in this definition appears to conflict with the search note in the parent subclass which directs claimed disclosures of business process analysis to 705/7. Additional notes direct claimed disclosures for subsets of fraud prevention or detection elsewhere in the class 705 schedule.

Social networking has now been broken out as subclass 705/319. Claimed disclosures that manage ". . . interaction between individuals or entities who are connected by one or more common relations or interests" are to be classified here.

Human resources (705/320) is defined as ". . . keeping of records (e.g., benefits, etc.) of the departments or employees of an organization, or hiring of employees", with employee performance review or evaluation directed to 705/7 in a see or search note.

Indented below human resources are two subclasses. The first is 705/321 for Employment or hiring, which requires ". . . engaging the services of a person or persons for wages or other payment either directly or through a third party." The second is 705/322 for Benefits package, defined as the ". . . maintenance, regulation, or the monitoring of non-monetary employment compensation provided to employees by an organization (e.g., health insurance, leave, retirement, etc.)." Detailed aspects of health (or other) insurance, such as co-pay determination, is directed to 705/2 (Health care management (e.g., record management, ICDA billing)), while managing retirement fund portfolios is directed to 705/36 (Portfolio selection,
planning or analysis).

Destination assistance within a business structure or complex, subclass 705/323, requires ". . . a computerized arrangement for providing direction information at a business location or the creation of direction plan for a business location." Indented under this subclass is 705/324, Building evacuation, ". . . for the removal of people from a structure for protective purposes." A note incorporates subject matter which creates a removal plan for a location.

Personal security, identity, or safety is new subclass 705/325, the last area we'll cover this week. Claimed disclosures ". . . (1) ensuring the legal or uninterrupted enjoyment by a person of their life, their body, their health, or their reputation (e.g., TSA airport screening, public venue admission screening, etc., in order to bar an individual who may cause harm to another, etc.), (2) for the detection of illicit use of personal information, such as analysis or detection means for determining that a person or business entity is who they say they are, or (3) for protective measures or protocol to prevent injury" are captured here. Notes direct certain fraud detection methods elsewhere in the class 705 schedule.

Next week, Sean will discuss new class 705 subclasses covering business processes related to to education, fundraising, and shipping processes.

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