Business method patents are a class of patents which disclose and claim new methods of doing business. Since 1998, an increasing number of patents have been issued to software and Internet companies that have devised novel ways of doing business – for example, new online ordering processes or a unique internet advertising scheme. These patents, which usually combine software with business methodology, are commonly referred to as business method patents or internet patents.
For example, Amazon.com devised a method for expediting online orders, known as the “1-Click”system. The method allows a repeat customer to bypass address and credit card data entry forms, because Amazon can access that information directly from the customer’s account. Amazon was granted a patent on this business method in September 1999 (U.S. Pat No. 5,960,411).
In India, business methods are not patentable as per section-3(k).
In Japan, business methods are well recognized and accepted as patentable subject matter. The legal standard used to assess whether a business method is patentable requires that inventions be “a highly advanced creation of technical ideas by which a law of nature is utilized.”Patents are not issued solely for business methods. The business method must contain a technical aspect that is both tangible and real. However this requirement may be satisfied simply by specifying that the method is implemented using a computer.
There is no general prohibition on the patentability of business methods in Australia. Their patentability is determined by applying the tests used to determine the patentability of any type of invention. In a recent decision, Grant v Commissioner of Patents