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You Can’t Patent Process

Saturday, November 1, 2008 by Slaughter Development

A federal appeals court has issued a powerful ruling for methodology engineering: business processes cannot be patented.

As reported in Portfolio, the court explained that patents should be restricted to cover only “physical objects or substances, [but not] abstractions.” The decision was aimed at the financial services industry, but the outcome clarifies that the detailed nature of work non-proprietary.

If your organization uses application forms to handle incoming requests, includes a clever approval procedure to reduce errors and ensure quality, or has a coverage system designed to ensure enough staff is always available to complete core tasks, then you are using business processes which can be freely duplicated by anyone. Competitors may build upon your approaches to reach the market faster and cheaper, and your partners may decide your techinques are obsolete. Business process is not a trade secret.

Since you cannot protect your corporate procedures through the vagaries of copyright law, the importance of continuous improvement is more significant than ever. Contact Slaughter Development to discuss comprehensive Business Process Modeling services to make your operation more effective.

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“Upping” Your Competitive Edge - According to Barbara Findlay Schenck, contributor to MSN’s Business on Main, the three elements that all customers desire are price, quality and speed. Her advice for companies: “deliver on all three fronts to win and keep customers.” Read on »
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