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Why Business Method Patents?

John F. Duffy

University of Virginia School of Law

GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 484

Though business method patents have generated enormous controversy for now more than a decade, too little attention has been devoted to a crucial question about timing: Why has the controversy over business methods arisen now? Critics of business method patents have argued (or have assumed) that the current increase in business method patenting is attributable to activist judges who expanded the patent system into a field where they are neither useful nor desired. That “activist court hypothesis,” however, suffers from numerous flaws and fails to provide a convincing explanation for the rise in business method patenting. An alternative explanation is that the patent system merely followed as technology advanced into, and transformed, business fields. That transformation is readily verified through numerous objective changes, including a signal alteration of the discourse within business literature; the proliferation within universities of engineering courses and departments devoted to business fields; and even a shift in the hiring patterns of leading financial firms. If anything, courts have been laggards, not leaders, in recognizing and accommodating this ongoing industrial revolution.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 32

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Date posted: November 7, 2009 ; Last revised: December 6, 2014

Suggested Citation

Duffy, John F., Why Business Method Patents?. GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 484. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1501317 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1501317

Contact Information

John Fitzgerald Duffy (Contact Author)
University of Virginia School of Law ( email )
580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
434-243-8544 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.virginia.edu/lawweb/faculty.nsf/FHPbI/2141954

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