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Financial Services Patents on the Upswing

June 10, 2010

The grant rate for patents in the financial services classes has significantly increased so far in 2010 as compared to the last several years.  For example, in Class 705/4 related to insurance, about 100 patents have been issued through May 31–about 20 per month.  That compares with about 6.5 per month last year, 7.4 per month in 2008, and 3.5 per month in 2007 and 2006.  Therefore, the grant rate in this class has tripled over the last year, and gone up about six-fold over the last five years.

Class 705/35 related to banking, finance, and investments has also seen a significant increase in grant rate.  So far in 2010, patents have been issuing at a rate of about 70 per month in subclass 35.  In 2009 that rate was about 42 per month.  In 2008 is was about 30 per month.  In 2006 and 2007 that rate was about 20 per month.  The grant rate in this class has increased about 70% over last year and has more than tripled over the last five years.

The Patent Office as a whole has increased its output of granted patents in 2010 by about 40% over last year, and the financial services sector has significantly exceeded that rate of increase.  It will be interesting to see if this is an upward trend that will continue, a one-time step-up in grant rate, or an anomaly.  It also bears watching to see if the forthcoming Bilski decision affects the rate one way or the other.

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