Yes. If you have unique way of conducting business online that gives you a competitive advantage, you may choose to patent that method. While patenting a business method used to be very hard to do, the USPTO has become more willing to allow patents for various unique online business practices. One example has been the patenting of various methods used by auction sites in terms of how the auctions are set up and conducted.
There are a couple advantages to patenting your business method. First, if your method gives your online business a competitive advantage you probably do not want that method falling into the hands of your competitors. A patent would allow your unique method to be used exclusively by your business and no one else for a period of up to 17 years. A second advantage is that even if you do not mind other businesses using your unique method, by patenting it you can then charge a fee for other businesses to be licensed to use that method.
There are several requirements your business method must meet in order for you to be able to patent it:
Patent law is very elaborate and filing for a patent is a complex process. Most likely you will want the assistance of an experienced patent attorney when you file for a patent for you online business method. Your attorney can help guide you through the process and notify you of the laws you need to be aware of, as well as the appropriate forms that need to be filled out.
Last Modified: 01-04-2012 04:37 PM PSTLaw Library Disclaimer
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