This Comment will trace the history of patent protection for methods of doing business over the past two decades, then it will inspect the problems that this protection has wrought: litigation, increased barriers to e-commerce entrepreneurs, and the threat of a less vibrant electronic marketplace. Because each traditional method of protecting intellectual property -- patent, copyright, and trade secret -- has strengths and limitations in protecting advancements in software technology, this Comment will examine the relative benefits of each method. Finally, this Comment will suggest a simple, easily applied test that will offer patent protection to true innovations while reserving methods of doing business for the open market, as they are the building blocks of commerce.
William Krause, Sweeping the E-Commerce Patent Minefield: The Need for a Workable Business Method Exception, 24 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 79 (2000).