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How have business method patents been put to use?

  • Cross-licensing: When a company realises that its (patented) method of doing business benefits greatly from another company's (patented) method, and vice versa, both agree ‘out-of-court' to mutual use of both the methods under suitable cross-licensing terms. If they don't, they can still use the patents instead as an offensive weapon against a competing peer or a defensive barrier to ward off an uncompromising rival.
  • ‘Me First': There have been cases when a company has filed for patent for a certain method, which happens to be already in use by another. If this usage was publicly known, the new application cannot hold water, but if the usage were under cover, then the new patent would be granted. Of late however, a 1999 amendment has enabled that the company that has been using the method under cover can continue using it without being considered guilty of infringement.

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