Business Methods

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Subject matter descriptions   Highlights   Prior partnership meetings   Statistics   Guidance and training materials   Outreach opportunities and presentations   Examiner decision making process   Contact us 

Illustration of multicolored gears containing business icons

The Business Methods area of the USPTO is a collection of subject matter areas in Technology Center 3600 that grants patents related to Data Processing: Financial, Business Practice, Management, or Cost/Pricing Determination. A Business Method patent is a utility patent that protects a method of doing business.  The 3620 and the 3680 workgroups examine applications pertaining to advertising, incentive programs, and coupons; cost/price, reservations, shipping, and transportation; cryptography and business data security; electronic shopping; healthcare; inventory, point of sale, and accounting; miscellaneous; and operations research.  The 3690 workgroup examines applications pertaining to finance, banking, and insurance. The applications examined by the nine subject matter areas in the Business Method area are explained below. 

Subject matter descriptions


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USPTO 2021 Business methods partnership meeting

Partnership meetings are held each year to engage stakeholders. These meetings allow Technology Center management and participants to share information about initiatives and best practices.


Prior partnership meetings

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This section highlights charts and statistics of the Business Methods Practice Area. 

Text Version of Business Methods Application Filings and Patent Grants

Business methods application filings and patent grants 2021

The above diagram shows the trend of 3 month average, filings and patent grants for the 6 years 2015 through 2021. It shows the trends for the serialized and RCE filings along with the patents granted during the same period.

Statistics published from prior years

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Guidance and training materials

Below are links to some of the training materials and guidance documents that may be of particular interest to applicants and practitioners in the Business Methods practice area.

35 U.S.C § 101
35 U.S.C § 103
Other examination guidance and training materials

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Outreach opportunities and presentations

USPTO outreach opportunities bring together inventors and examiners to promote a deeper understanding of technology and the examining process. Find out more about how you can participate in the patent examining process.

Past Business Methods outreach presentations designed to provide resources and information to our stakeholders

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Examiner decision making process

The final say for the determination of patentability resides with the Primary Examiner (MPEP §1004) with the exception of when a Junior Examiner has partial signatory authority (MPEP §1005).  The chart below illustrates decision points and who is the deciding official during the first examination, the subsequent examination, and the appeals process.

Text Version of the Examiner Decision Making Process

High level overview of the examiner decision making process

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