pp. Patenting a method of doing business.
The patentable assets of the e-commerce business may also include the "business model" of the e-commerce enterprise — that is, the systems and methods constituting the unique operational structure of the business. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently has sanctioned such business model patenting (State Street Bank & Trust Co. v. Signature Financial Group, Inc., 149 F.3d 1368 (Fed. Cir. 1998) and AT&T Corp. v. Excel Communications, Inc., 172 F.3d 1352 (Fed. Cir. 1999)). As a consequence, business system/business method patents are now being filed and issued in large numbers.
Juno patented an offline ad-delivery process, and Netcentives did the same with its ClickRewards scheme. Cybergold, Priceline, and Open Market have also rushed to patent biz models. Business-model patenting appears to be the lastest, greatest way to gain cred.