Monday, May 14, 2007

Business Method Patents - Are they worth it?

Good Question.

A recent article in the ABA Journal by Steve Seidenberg discusses the most recent group of business method patents to hit the PTO - tax patents. These patents cover useful, unique and nonobvious implementations of the tax law. Mr. Seidenberg's article takes on an anti-tax patent strategy theme in discussing whether tax patents in particular and legal strategy patents in general should be valid, mentioning that Congress may be changing the law to limit tax patents.

This got me thinking about business method patents ine general and whether they were worth the cost, given recent decisions by the Supreme Court. At Leyendecker & Lemire, we charge at least 25% more for business method patents, and one reason for doing so is to ensure that we take into account recent changes in the law so that your patent is as broad as legally possible, and sill retaining the likelihood your patent will issue.

The question to ask yourself is whether it's worth it for you (an individual or small company) to protect your unique way of doing business - be that providing tax services or otherwise? Well, maybe. Like other patentable areas, and likely more imprtant in the business method arena, you need to ask yourself how great your idea is as compared to what's currently being done by your competitors? Does your idea give you a competitive advantage over other persons providing similar services and products such that you will can forsee obtaining a return on your patent investment which is higher than the cost of the patent? As discussed on our new website, the answer to these questions ultimately come to whether you have the perseverence to see your idea to patent issuance and to subsequently enforce any patent that may issue. Although this process may cost more with a business method patent, the reward can be just as great or greater - allowing you to provide your unique service that no one else can provide.

If you can answer these questions positively, then you have what it takes to see your business method idea through to the end and should contact our office.

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