Q: I have an idea for a Credit Card product that will solve a number of problems for Banks & Card Issuers. Can I patent it?
I cannot 'deploy' the invention, of course, since I cannot issue credit cards. The idea is specific to how card fees are charged. How can I protect it.
A: I can't tell you that you can patent your invention. You can patent an invention that is patentable subject matter. It must be new, non-obvious and you must be the first to apply for a patent on the invention. You don't need a prototype so long as the invention is fully developed/designed.
A: You will have to face an additional hurdle as the US Supreme Court has really closed the door on patenting merely porting a specific way of conducting business to operate on a general purpose computer. That may be a bullet you can dodge. But you should do some searching. These slides will teach you search tips. http://bit.ly/Patent_Searching
If you find that there are not any patents issued recently that address banking features on the level of abstraction that you are hoping to patent, then that tells you something.
You should Google for a patent attorney that specifically seeks clients in the FIN-Tech (Financial Tech Space). You will get a better assessment of your chances from that sort of attorney and that sort of patent attorney will maximize your claim strategy if you do proceed. Keep in mind that the patent registration held by patent attorneys is a federal license and thus an attorney with the right skill set from any state may be a good choice from you not just the patent attorney down the street. (I refer FIN-Tech cases out to other patent attorneys as I focus on things made better by an engineer, often in the space of medical devices. (See exampled http://bit.ly/Patent_Examples ) )
If you found this answer helpful, you may want to look at my answers to other questions about patent law are available at the bottom of my profile page at
Kevin E Flynn
A: Yes, you should be able to get a patent on your invention, provided that, as Ahaji Kirk Amos noted, your invention is new, non-obvious, well-described, etc. How to go about protecting your invention will be a problem for your patent attorney to worry about.
You have a bigger issue to worry about. If you are going to get your invention patented, what are you going to do with it? After you spend $20K to $40K to get your patent, what is your next step? Plenty of patent attorneys will be happy to take your money to get a quality patent for you, but you need to figure out what good will the patent be to you.
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