In the newly revised Patent Examination Guidelines taken effective from April 1, 2017, the principles of the examination for claims relating to Business Method were amended.

According to the previous guidelines, a claim involving Business Method is directly deemed as belonging to “rules and methods for mental activities” in the substantial examination stage, regardless of whether there is any technical feature existed in the claim, and rejection will be issued that this claim belongs to the non-patentable objects under Article 25 of the PRC Patent Law.

However, a host of innovative Business Method in such sectors as finance, insurance, security, leasing, auctions, investment, marketing, advertisement and operating management are emerging due to the rapid development of internet technologies, which increase the flow efficiency, promote the distribution of resources and save the social costs. The technical solutions adopted in these kinds of commercial activity innovations make the inventors and the applicants spend a large amount of creative work, and should be encouraged positively and protected properly. In the previous Guidelines, such technical solutions are excluded from being granted simply because they contain business rules and methods, it can be seen that such regulations are no longer adapted to current social environment.

In order to meet the innovative subjects’ demand to protect the creative results relating to Business Method, it is clearly prescribed in the newly revised Guidelines that when a claim relating to Business Method contains both the business rules/methods and technical features, it should not be deprived of the possibility of being granted a patent right pursuant to Article 25 of PRC Patent Law. In a word, a claim relating to Business Method does not belong to mental activities and rules as long as it contains technical features. In the future, whether or not a claim relating to Business Method is the patent protecting object, merely rely on whether it include technical feature.

For example:

A method for selling insurance on network, wherein the method carries out the network sale of the insurance through the insurance business terminal equipment and the system central server connected to the network, comprising:

Setting up the types of insurance and specific insurance contents by means of the input keyboard of the insurance business terminal equipment;

Reading the identification information of the applicant with the identity card reader, and processing and storing it;

The insurance business terminal equipment sending the type of insurance, the specific contents of the insurance and

the applicant's identification information to the system center server through the network; and

Printing insurance documents.

The method for selling insurance on network in the above-mentioned claim at least includes reading the identification information, processing, storing, transmitting identification information and other technical means. According to the newly revised Guidelines, this claim belongs to the object of patent protection. In the substantial examination stage, the examiner will not issue the protection object rejection for this claim, and will go ahead directly into the examination on substance, such as novelty, inventiveness, supportiveness, etc..

Henceforth, when preparing patent application documents, applicant might consider extracting the technical features from the whole solution firstly, then defining them clearly in the claims, and describing in details in the specification the technical effects these technical features bring out.