Good Business NOT Patentable Business

Numerous attempts have been made over the years to equate computer implemented inventions with real world operations. The issue is that in Europe there is a need for a technical effect. The nub of the argument is that the need for a technical expert means that the invention extends beyond a simple implementation of an abstract economical model.

In the sphere of a medical implemented invention, normally a clinician diagnoses the problem and provides a solution from the toolbox provided by manufacturers of medical solutions and their knowledge. It can get interesting when the treatment is anecdotal or homeopathic and of course actual treatment by a clinician themselves is excluded from protection for obvious reasons.

In medical applications the human or animal is excluded, with computer implemented inventions the standard known computer is excluded. However, in both, it is the technical effect which can be protected i.e. the drug to cure a specific disease or symptom or the operation/configuration of the computer (or other machine for that matter) which gives a new result – it is assumed just running the machine (to manufacture or produce a result) or animal (natural normal actions such as breathing, eating or other biological operations to stay a life) are at least technical. The invention is to make the machine run better or to give a specific drug regime to cure a disease. For example breathing is a natural action (excluded and lacking in novelty) but arranging a new mixture of gases for better cardiovascular absorption or to allow a subject to dive deeper into the sea might be inventive.

For example, a new athletics coach may devise a new training regime for their athlete which makes them run faster or jump higher but the training regime itself is not technical. One problem is that in the real world the methods of business or unique selling points can be far more powerful than the specifics of particular organizations. These methods and USPs have huge value but to make them transferable in franchise or license modes they normally need to be operable on readily available off the shelf standard equipment. There is a problem of trying to claim so broadly to cover all available off the shelf equipment that what is left is an abstract business model (not patentable) or too narrowly for a specifically configured/operated machine so that it is easy to avoid infringement. In such circumstances maintenance of trade secrecy and a good suite of NDA is of paramount importance.