Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about United States Patent and Trademark Office and other Invention topics.
Business method patents are invention patents that are part of the larger family of utility patents. Classified as a process because there is no physical object, any company that develops a new way of conducting business or manufacturing can protect the method.
Henry Ford's invention of the assembly line is a historic example of a business method. A More modern one would be Amazon's 1-Click method of e-commerce. 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).