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PTO Mtg -- Patent Issues - Computer-Implemented Business Method(fwd)
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- Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 23:27:29 +0000 (GMT)
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[Federal Register: June 22, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 121)]
[Notices] [Page 38811-38813]
Taken from the Federal Register Online via GPO Access
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
United States Patent and Trademark Office
Notice of Roundtable on Computer-Implemented Business Method
AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.
ACTION: Notice of roundtable on computer-implemented business
method patent issues.
SUMMARY: As part of the recently announced business method patent
initiative, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
is holding a roundtable, the purpose of which is to discuss the
history behind computer-implemented business method patents and
to identify ways to improve the USPTO's current examination
approach to computer-implemented business method patent
applications. Members of the public are invited to attend the
roundtable, or to participate as a panelist in the roundtable
discussion, on the topics outlined in the supplementary information
section of this notice, or other related topics. Individuals who
are not selected, or do not wish to apply for selection as panelists
may request to attend the discussion as an audience member. The
roundtable is an opportunity for an informal discussion. Panelists
will be asked to provide their individual input; group consensus
advice will not be sought.
DATES: The roundtable will be held on Thursday, July 27, 2000, from
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Self-nominations to participate as a panelist
and requests for attendance at the roundtable must be received by
no later than July 7, 2000.
Location of the Roundtable
The roundtable will be held at the Crystal City Sheraton Hotel,
1800 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA 22202.
Mailing Address for Self-Nominations and Requests for Attendance
Self-nominations to participate as a panelist and requests for
attendance at the roundtable should be addressed to Director of the
United States Patent and Trademark Office, Box 4, United States
Patent and Trademark Office, Washington, DC 20231, marked to the
attention of Elizabeth Shaw. Self-nominations may also be submitted
by facsimile to (703) 305-7575, or by electronic mail through the
Internet to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Lucas by telephone at
(703) 305-9300, by facsimile at (703) 305-8885, by electronic mail
at email@example.com, or by mail addressed to Director of the
United States Patent and Trademark Office, Box Comments-Patents,
Commissioner for Patents, Washington, DC 20231.
The number of patent applications related to computer-implemented
business methods in Class 705 grew from 1,300 to 2,600 between FY 1998
and FY 1999. Much of this growth may be attributed to the decision in
State Street Bank & Trust Co. v. Signature Financial Group Inc., 149
F.3d 1368, 47 USPQ2d 1596 (Fed. Cir. 1998), that held that computer-
implemented business methods are eligible for patent protection under
35 U.S.C. 101.
Electronic commerce is an extremely significant component of
today's technology-driven economy. While less than one percent of the
290,000 applications filed with the USPTO last year related to
computer-implemented business methods in Class 705, computer-
implemented business method patents play an important role in this
growing industry. In an effort to enhance the quality of the
examination of business method patent applications, the USPTO is
interested in working together with the software, Internet, and
electronic commerce industry to identify ways to improve current
business operations and solve business methods-related issues,
including access to software-related prior art.
On March 29, 2000, the USPTO announced the business method patent
initiative, which includes industry outreach and quality programs. The
industry outreach programs are intended to encompass the establishment
of a customer partnership with industry, the convening of a roundtable
forum, and an effort to obtain industry feedback on prior art issues.
The quality programs encompass steps to enhance the technical
training of examiners, revise the examination guidelines and examples,
and expand current prior art search activities. This includes a review
of mandatory search areas, the establishment of a new second-level
review of all allowed applications in Class 705, and an expansion of
the sampling size for quality review along with the introduction of a
new in-process review of Office actions to focus on field of search and
patentability issues involving novelty and nonobviousness.
As part of this initiative, the USPTO invites members of the public
to attend the roundtable or to participate as a panelist in the
roundtable discussion. Panelists will be asked to provide their
individual input. Attendees will be invited to ask questions and
provide comments. The intent of this roundtable is to offer an informal
forum for a free and open discussion of issues relating to the topics
outlined in the supplemental section of this notice. Group consensus
advice will be avoided in the roundtable.
Participation as a Panelist in the Roundtable Discussion
The roundtable will be an open forum providing a fair and open
opportunity for panelists to discuss major issues related to patent
protection for computer-implemented business methods and for the
public at large to observe and listen to the discussion, ask
questions and provide comments. Panelists will be discussing the
topics outlined in the supplemental section of this notice, or
other related topics. During the roundtable discussion, the issues
addressed by the panelists will be facilitated by a moderator. The
USPTO will select panelists from self-nominations based on
qualifications that will offer a broad range of expertise and
perspectives on the topics listed in the supplemental section.
In addition to selection of panelists from the self-nominations,
the USPTO may also solicit participation from various members of
the patent community and academia. The USPTO would like the panel
to include a cross-section of various stakeholders, such as start-up
and established e-commerce companies, corporations, attorneys,
database managers and creators, academia representatives, and trade
Those interested in participating in the roundtable discussion
as a panelist should send their self-nominations to the attention
of Elizabeth Shaw, addressed to Director of the United States Patent
and Trademark Office, Box 4, United States Patent and Trademark
Office, Washington, DC 20231. Self-nominations must include the
participant's name, affiliation, title, mailing address, telephone
number, and a short resume reflecting the participant's knowledge
of and/or interest in the USPTO business method patent initiative.
Facsimile number and Internet mail address, if available, should
also be provided. Individuals will be notified of accepted
self-nominations by the USPTO approximately one week prior to the
date of the roundtable. Non-accepted nominees will also be notified
by the USPTO. No one will be permitted to participate as a panelist
in the roundtable discussion without prior approval.
Individuals who would like to attend the roundtable discussion
as an audience member in the event that they are not selected to
participate as a panelist, must include a statement with their self-
nomination explicitly requesting attendance. If such a statement is
included with the self-nomination, a separate request for attendance
is not required. As discussed below, these requests will be honored
on a first-come, first-served basis.
Audience Attendance at the Roundtable Discussion
Attendees will be provided with audience-style seating to watch
and listen to the panel discussions. Attendees will be given the
opportunity to submit questions and comments during the question
and answer periods.
Those interested in attending should send their requests for
attendance, to the attention of Elizabeth Shaw, addressed to Director
of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Box 4, Washington,
DC 20231; facsimile (703) 305-7575; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Requests for attendance must include the attendee's name, affiliation,
title, mailing address, and telephone number. Facsimile number and
Internet mail address, if available, should also be provided.
Roundtable attendees will be accepted as requests are received.
Requests for attendance will be honored on a first-come, first-served
basis according to the time and date of receipt of each request.
Because of space considerations, approximately 150 members of the
public will be accepted as attendees. In order to ensure a broad cross-
section of attendees, the USPTO reserves the right to limit the number
of attendees from any single organization or law firm. Therefore,
organizations and law firms must designate their official
representatives. Individuals will be notified of accepted requests
for attendance by the USPTO approximately one week prior to the date
of the roundtable. Non-accepted requesters will also be notified by
the USPTO. No one will be permitted to attend without prior approval.
Topics for the Roundtable Discussion
The roundtable will begin with an overview and history of computer-
implemented business method patents and the State Street Bank decision,
as well as what is happening today on this issue. This portion will be
followed by roundtable discussions on the examination and economic
issues surrounding business method patents. The topics to be discussed
by the roundtable participants will include:
A. How computer-implemented business method applications are examined.
-- Eligibility for patenting
-- Novelty and nonobviousness requirements, including automation of
B. The impact of patent protection for computer-implemented
business methods on the innovation, evolution and development
of electronic commerce.
-- Are computer-implemented business method patents encouraging
or curbing growth in innovation?
-- Are there empirical studies or evidence that support either
C. Creation of a business methods prior art database for searching
computer-implemented business method patent applications.
-- Unique characteristics of business methods prior art
-- Types of prior art in the new database and the accessibility
of the prior art
-- Challenges in creating the business methods prior art database
D. Discussion of the USPTO's Business Method Patent Initiative
announced on March 29, 2000.
-- Does the initiative adequately address concerns raised about
the examination of computer-implemented business method patent
-- Are there other issues related to computer-implemented business
methods on which the USPTO should be focusing?
It has been determined that this notice is significant for
purposes of Executive Order 12866. This notice involves information
collection requirements related to the filing and processing of a
patent application and which are subject to review by the Office of
Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of
1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). These information collections have
been reviewed and previously approved by the Office of Management
and Budget under the following control numbers: 0651-0031 and
0651-0032. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is not
resubmitting information collection packages to OMB for its review
and approval because the changes under consideration do not affect
the information collection requirements associated with the
information collections under these OMB control numbers.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required
to respond nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for failure
to comply with a collection of information subject to the
requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that
collection of information displays a currently valid OMB Control
Dated: June 16, 2000.
Q. Todd Dickinson,
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director
of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 00-15813 Filed 6-21-00; 8:45 am]
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