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Title

Requirements for Business Method (BM) Patent

Author 

KH

Post Date 

2010-05-14

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I. Appeal against Decision to Reject Korean Patent Application No. 1996-39196

Patent Court’s Decision No. 2006HEO8910 published on Jun. 27, 2007
쭯 finally decided


1. Claims (Claim 12)

A method for corporate travel planning, expense reporting and travel management,
the method which uses a computer to communicably link
a database,
a corporate traveler, and
a system for travel planning, expense reporting and travel management which are communicably linked to a computerized reservation system which provides travel data from the computerized reservation system to the database and the system for travel planning, expense reporting and travel management (hereinafter, referred to as a ‘constituent 1’),
the method comprising the steps of:
making a trip request from the computer of the traveler, based on a trip itinerary requested by the traveler, by using the system for travel planning, expense reporting and travel management (hereinafter, referred to as a ‘constituent 2’);
obtaining approval of the trip itinerary requested by the traveler, by using the system for travel planning, expense reporting and travel management (hereinafter, referred to as a ‘constituent 3’);
making an expense report, based on the trip itinerary requested by the traveler, by using the system for travel planning, expense reporting and travel management (hereinafter, referred to as a ‘constituent 4’);
obtaining approval of the expense report by using the system for travel planning, expense reporting and travel management (hereinafter, referred to as a ‘constituent 5’); and
receiving a travel reservation completed from the computer of the traveler, based on the approved trip itinerary of the traveler, by using the system for travel planning, expense reporting and travel management (hereinafter, referred to as a ‘constituent 6’).

2. Patent Court’s decision (2006HEO8910)

(1) Regarding the question as to whether the present invention has industrial applicability:

In a computer-related invention, a ‘business method invention’ (hereinafter, referred to as the ‘BM invention’) means an ‘invention related to a new business system or method built by using an information technology’. To fall under a BM invention, information processing by using software in a computer is to be concretely achieved by using hardware.

This means not only that software is merely read by a computer but also that an information processing system for concretely performing the processing of information to achieve a specific purpose or a method of operating the system is achieved by software which is read by a computer and by a specific mutual cooperative means of software and hardware. To be completed as an invention, the description of the claimed invention should not be on the level of raising a simple idea. All the constituents that are indispensable to achieve the purpose(s) of an invention should be specifically and clearly described.

Accordingly, to establish a BM invention, the claims to be considered as a whole should not describe an invention using mental activities of a human and the like or simply using general-purpose functions of a computer or internet. To establish a BM invention, an information processing system to concretely perform processing of information to achieve a specific purpose(s) or a method of operating the system should be achieved by the specific mutual cooperative means of software and hardware in a computer system, thereby demonstrating new effects more than those by simply using a computer or internet.

(2) Regarding the present invention described in claim 12:

↘ The present invention discloses a business method which is achieved by using the information technology, such as a computer or the like, to provide the method for corporate travel management through the system for corporate travel planning, expense reporting and travel management which is operated in the corporate database environment, enabling the automatic creation of travel planning from the desktop of the corporate traveler, to, in advance, support travel determination by informing of the estimated travel expense before consuming corporate finances, and to automatically report the expense. Thus, the present invention falls under a type of a BM invention.

♭ Among the constituents of the present invention, the steps of obtaining the approval of the travel itinerary and expense report include: software processing steps through the system for corporate travel planning, expense reporting and travel management, and hardware means, such as the system for corporate travel planning, expense reporting and travel management, to perform the software processing steps. However, the software and the hardware means are described as a very abstract term only as: ‘the system for corporate travel planning, expense reporting and travel management’.

That is, upon reviewing the invention described in claim 12, the detailed description and the drawing(s), the subject of approving the travel itinerary and expense report is just a person (authorizer) who is authorized by the corporation. To carry out the invention, the approval procedures by the authorizer are considered as being indispensable. However, since the claim describes only the ‘step of obtaining approval∼by the system for corporate travel planning, expense reporting and travel management’, the specific cooperative means and cooperative relations between software and hardware are unclear as to which specific means or procedures by which the travel itinerary requested by the corporate traveler or the expense report is approved by the authorizer in the system for corporate travel planning, expense reporting and travel management, and as to what extent to which the action of the person as the authorizer is related to the action of the system in the approval procedures.

♩ The claims in their entirety do not specifically define how the concrete cooperative means required in the system for corporate travel planning, expense reporting and travel management to achieve the specific purpose(s) are embodied. (The concrete cooperative means include, for example, a means for automatically making the travel itinerary or expense report, a means for automatizing the report route, a means for providing appropriate approval from the authorizer, an automatically generated brief report for guaranteeing accurate expense repayment or the like, or an approval screen realized in a specific system, and a means for simultaneously making and providing a travel itinerary and expense report module to enable proper management of cooperate resources and a travel determination module to combine data generated from the travel itinerary and expense report module and to enable corporate travel managers or department managers to use the combined data, among other means.) Therefore, the present invention is considered as simply using the general-purpose functions of the computer or internet system, rather than demonstrating new effects by an information processing system to perform the processing of information to achieve the specific purpose(s) or a method of operating the system which is achieved or made possible by the specific mutual cooperative means between the software and hardware. Accordingly, since the present invention described in claim 12 has the constitution based on the actions of a human using the general-purpose functions of the computer or internet system as described above, it cannot be regarded as falling under the technical idea using the rules of nature.


II. Appeal against Decision to Reject Korean Patent Application No. 2002-21391

Patent Court’s Decision No. 2005HEO11094 published on Dec. 21, 2006
Supreme Court’s Decision No. 2007HU494 published on Dec. 11, 2008

1. Claims (Claim 3)

A method for generating and managing a mini-room in the form of a personal room in an i  

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