Summary of HR 5364 IH, the
Business Method Patent Improvement Act of 2000.
Date: October 3, 2000.
Source: Rep. Howard Berman and Rep. Rick Boucher.
See also, story by Tech Law
Journal, statement by Rep. Berman, and statement by Rep. Boucher.
SUMMARY OF THE BUSINESS METHOD PATENT IMPROVEMENT ACT
To enhance the quality of business method patents,
the Business Method Patent Improvement Act will --
- require the publication of business method patent applications after 18
months to give the public an opportunity to present information about prior
inventions, (including evidence of public use or knowledge of the invention
before the application was filed) or request the PTO to hold a hearing to
determine whether an invention was known, used by others, or was 'in public
use or on sale in the U.S. prior to the filing of the application;
- establish an expeditious, less costly alternative to litigation - an
administrative opposition' process that must be initiated within 9 months
after the granting of a patent, and must conclude within 18 months of
- provide that where an invention differs from prior inventions only in that
it is computer implemented (i.e., an Internet adaptation of a known business
practice), it is presumed to be obvious and therefore not patentable - a
presumption which can be overcome by a showing by a preponderance of the
evidence that the invention was not obvious; and,
- lower the burden of proof for a challenge to a patent's validity from
"clear and convincing" to "a preponderance" of the
evidence, a more appropriate standard in light of practical impediments to
obtaining evidence in these cases.
- The bill defines a 'business method as "(1) a method of (A)
administering managing, or otherwise operating an enterprise or
organization, including a technique used in doing or conducting business; or
(B) processing financial data; (2) any technique used in athletics,
instruction, or personal skills; and (3) any computer-assisted
implementation of a systematic means described [in (1)] or a technique
described in [(2)]." A "business method invention" is defined
as "(1) any invention which is a business method (including any
software or other apparatus); and (2) any invention which is comprised of
any claim that is a business method".