Strategies for Conducting Patent Search for Business Method Patents

Business Method Patents are one of the most exciting areas in the modern patent industry. A business method may be defined as “a method of operating any aspect of an economic enterprise”. Business Method Patents help in improving/growing business for both independent inventors and major corporations.

Below are some strategies for finding relevant patent documents for business method based inventions:

  • Generally, while sifting through the various patent documents for business methods in result set of a search, it is advised not to rely exclusively on figures, drawings, and flowcharts.
  • Business methods patent documents may use many generic terms which may be deceptive. Therefore, the researcher must be careful while framing the text searches, by using possible synonyms for relevant terms to cover for the possibly used generic terms.
  • It is also very important to understand laws of various jurisdictions towards allow ability of business method patents. For example, US has been the only major country which have been allowing and issuing business method patents from a long period. A large number of business method patents has been filed during last 20 years in US. Therefore, it will always be a good idea to run a US patents specific search while conducting a search for business method patents.
  • Class 705 has been identified as the prominent class in the USPTO classification system in which majority of patents related to business method art are located. Class 705 contains patents related to computer-implemented processes, the Internet, electronic commerce, business management, etc. Therefore, when searching for a business method related patent document, it is advisable to always consider this class for the purpose of the search.

New business technologies are a rapidly developing field. Therefore, a search of the non-patent literature (NPL) is also important. Online search engines like Google and Google Scholar may be used which provide valuable information for the latest developments through news articles, conference papers, thesis papers, company Web sites, and advertisements.

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