III. CLASS 705
Class 705 encompasses machines and their corresponding methods for performing data processing or calculation operations, where the machine or method is utilized in the 1) practice, administration, or management of an enterprise, or 2) processing of financial data, or 3) determination of the charge for goods or services. This is the formal definition of the subject matter classified in Class 705 . See Appendix G for a sample of patents issued on May 30, 2000.
In laymanÂ's terms, Class 705 is a collection of 20+ financial and management data processing areas. These including data processing in specific enterprises such as Insurance, Stock/Bond Trading, Health Care Management, Reservation Systems, Postage Meter Systems (Computerized) as well as more general enterprise functions such as Electronic Shopping, Auction Systems, and Business Cryptography. The four largest groupings in Class 705 are those directed to the general business operations of:
- Determining Who Your Customers Are, and The Products/Services They Need/Want
Operations Research - Market Analysis
- Informing Customers You Exist, Showing Them Your Products & Services, and Getting Them to Purchase
Redemption of Coupon
- Exchanging Money and Credit Before, During, and After the Business Transaction
Credit and Loan Processing
Point of Sale Systems
- Tracking Resources, Money, And Products
Human Resource Management
The systems and methods of Class 705 are directed to diverse business functions. However, a strong understanding of certain non-business fields is required to fully understand many inventions in this class. Patent applications being examined in Class 705 still strongly reflect the basic engineering that underlay each invention. Electrical and computer engineering (e.g., databases, communication systems) will continue to be a dominant feature of business data processing for generations to come. A strong electrical and computer engineering foundation is as important as a strong foundation in any of the diverse business functions.
These and other shared non-business fields allow unique patent examining flexibility across certain communications and information processing technologies. This is particularly true in technologies where large amounts of data must be stored and communicated from one location to another prior to performance of some final end function such as product sales. Patent examiners, from what appears on the surface to be diverse technologies, can readily assist each other with respect to shared non-business fields.
Class 705 was created in 1997 from the business and cost/price sections of computer classes 395 and 364. These two sections having originally evolved from class 235 - Registers, beginning in the late 1960's. The evolution of the technologies in Class 705 can be seen by reviewing the assignees of Business Methods in the three periods 1977-1989, 1990-1994, and 1995-1999.
(13 year span)
(5 year span)
(5 year span)
*Alcatel Business System
* Frama A.G.
* indicates a new assignee from previous period
In the period prior to 1990, the Business Methods patents were heavily focused on computerized postage metering and cash register systems. By the end of 1994 heavier emphasis was placed on financial transaction systems which moved postage metering to the second place category. By the end of 1999, electronic shopping and financial transaction systems were the two dominant categories moving postage metering systems down to third. A review of the newly filed applications shows that postage metering will be moved to the fourth spot by the emerging technology of advertising management systems.
Class 705 has seen strong filing growth in FY 1998 and FY 1999. However, it represented only about 1% of the total patent applications filed at the USPTO in FY 1999. The 2658 applications filed in Class 705 did not even place it among the top five Communication and Information Processing technologies.
The digital and multiplex communication technologies of Classes 370 and 375 which form the backbone of all modern communication systems saw 7131 patent applications in FY 1999. Class 345 - Display data processing (e.g., graphical user interfaces, web browsers) saw 3898 applications; Class 455 - Telecommunications (e.g., radio, cellular telephones) saw 3480 applications; Class 709 Â- Networked computer data processing saw 3190 applications; Class 707 Â- Databases and Word Processors saw 3068 applications; and Classes 360 and 369 - Dynamic Information Storage (e.g., disk drives) saw 2905 applications.
Collectively the communications and information technologies saw 57,000 applications in FY 1999. Class 705 received less than 5 % of that total.