Patents for Business Methods and E-commerce Ideas

September 21, 1999

Recently the Federal Circuit in State Street Bank & Trust Co. v. Signature Financial Group, Inc. held that any method, including a business method -- whether or not practiced with the aid of a computer -- constitutes patentable subject matter so long as it has practical utility in producing a "useful, concrete and tangible result." The patent upheld in State Street Bank was directed to an investment structure comprising a "Hub and Spoke" arrangement in which the assets in mutual funds ("Spokes") were pooled in an investment portfolio ("Hub") so that the funds could be treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes.

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