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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the importance of process patents in the Internet economy?

Process patents, a sub-type of utility patents, play a crucial role in the Internet economy. They grant exclusive rights to the owner for a specific business or mechanical process, fostering innovation and economic growth. Business method patents, a subset of process patents, have been particularly influential in the Internet age, supporting the development of new products and services. For instance, Netflix's patent for computer-based content streaming revolutionized the video rental industry. This patent, which granted Netflix exclusive economic use and licensing rights, was instrumental in shaping their business model. Similarly, patents related to computer processing of financial data have enabled advancements in the financial sector. However, obtaining a process patent involves a rigorous process. It begins with a unique and definitive idea that can materialize into a patentable invention. A thorough patent search is conducted to ensure the idea is novel. If the search yields positive results, an initial patent application, known as a provisional application, is filed. This secures the patent's filing date and is rarely rejected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

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