MPEP Q & A 156: What is the Definition of Fundamental Economic Practices?

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Question:

What is the definition of fundamental economic practices?

Answer:

The courts have used the phrases “fundamental economic practices” or “fundamental economic concepts” to describe concepts relating to the economy and commerce, such as agreements between people in the form of contracts, legal obligations, and business relations.

Chapter Details:

The answer to this question can be found in chapter 2100 of the MPEP. This chapter covers patentability.

The answer is from the 9th Edition, Revision 08.2017. Depending on future changes to the MPEP, the question and answer may or may not be applicable in later Editions or revisions.

Section Summary:

This question and answer comes from section 2106.04(a)(2) of the MPEP.  The following is a brief summary of section 2106.04(a)(2).

2106.04(a)(2)    Examples of Concepts The Courts Have Identified As Abstract Ideas 

This section covers examples of concepts the courts have identified as abstract ideas. This includes fundamental economic practices which describe concepts relating to the economy and commerce, such as agreements between people in the form of contracts, legal obligations, and business relations. In addition, this section also covers certain methods of organizing human activity which describes concepts relating to interpersonal and intrapersonal activities and an idea of itself which describes an idea standing alone such as an uninstantiated concept, plan or scheme, as well as a mental process (thinking) that “can be performed in the human mind, or by a human using a pen and paper.” Lastly, this section also covers mathematical relationship formulas.