Archive for August, 2014

Recent Grants in Electronic Commerce Technology Group Provide Evidence that At Least “Technical Inventions” Still Pass Muster Under Alice

Friday, August 15th, 2014

In a recent post Dennis Crouch has provided two charts showing the grant rate of patents filed between 2003 and 2010, divided by technology area.  See and  These charts show that technology area 3620 – Electronic Commerce – has a relatively low allowance rate of about 35%.  However, this area also has the highest rate of still-pending applications, at about 23%.  The high rate of still-pending applications suggests either that, relative to the applications in the sample, the electronic commerce applications were filed later in the sampling period, or that the electronic commerce applications are, on average, taking longer to prosecute to completion (either allowance or abandonment).  Unfortunately, without more detail, these charts do little to explain why electronic commerce applications are taking longer to prosecute (if they are) or why electronic commerce applications are facing a below-average allowance rate.  One possible explanation for the low allowance rate is the additional § 101 hurdles presented by Bilski and Alice, in particular the calling-out in Alice of a “fundamental economic practice” as an abstract idea.