Business Methods in 2011: Business as Usual?
One year ago, the United States Supreme Court ruled that business methods cannot be categorically excluded from patenting in its landmark Bilski v. Kappos
decision. Since then, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has continued to receive new applications for business method inventions and to issue business method patents. At its recent Business Methods Partnership Meeting, the USPTO provided an update on business method patenting and discussed best practices for protecting business-related innovations. More
Crafting Preambles to Side-Step Joint Infringement Issues
Generally, a claim’s preamble does not limit the scope of the claim. However, a preamble can limit claim scope when it breathes life and meaning into the claim. For example, a preamble may limit the claim scope when it provides antecedent support to recitations in the main body of the claim.
Patent drafters that effectively craft a preamble, even in claims where the preamble is limiting, can assist in overcoming later potential joint infringement issues. Infringement of a patented method requires that a single entity perform all the steps of the method. See McKesson Techs., Inc. v. Epic Sys. Corp.
, No. 2010-1291 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 12, 2011). More