USPTO Issues Final Rules: Definitions for the Transitional Program for Covered Business Method Patents

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued final rules, effective September 16, 2012, that implement provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) related to definitions for the transitional program for covered business method patents. See 77 Fed. Reg. 48734 (2012). The rules set forth definitions for a covered business method patent and a technological invention.

For a “covered business method patent,” the USPTO adopted the language from the AIA. In particular, under Rule 42.301, a “covered business method patent” is “a patent that claims a method or corresponding apparatus for performing data processing or other operations used in the practice, administration, or management of a financial product or service, except that the term does not include patents for technological inventions.” According to the USPTO, the phrase “financial product or service” should be interpreted broadly. Further, a patent having one or more claims directed to a covered business method is considered a covered business method patent.

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