Business Methods

Select from the following for more information on this page 

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 Practice Area is part of Technology Center 3600 that handles Business Methods applications.  In the Business Methods Practice Area, there are three workgroups.  The 3620 and the 3680 workgroups examine applications pertaining to incentive programs, coupons; operations research; electronic shopping; health care; point of sale, inventory, accounting; cost/price, reservations, shipping, and transportation; and business processing.  The 3690 workgroup examines applications pertaining to finance/banking/insurance. 


TC 3600 Business Methods Partnership Meeting (BMPM)
Business Methods Partnership Meeting USPTO 2020

The date of the next Partnership Meeting will be announced shortly.


Prior partnership meetings

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.


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

Text Version of Business Methods Allowance Rate

Business Method Allowance Rate Chart – 2019

The above graph shows allowance rates of the Business Methods Practice Area currently surpassing the allowance rates achieved prior to Bilski v. Kappos (decided June 28, 2010) and trending towards the rates achieved prior to Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International (decided June 19, 2014). Allowance rates are calculated as the number of notices of allowances divided by the number of disposals (including Request for Continued Examination disposals) for each period for fiscal year 2008 through March 16, 2019.

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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