Q. So we all know about patenting physical inventions, but recently “business process patents” have become very important… and this has become a key issue for many startups.

A. Right. For many years, the USPTO actually took the position that a method of doing business could not be patented. But starting with the technology revolution of the 80s and 90s, new technology and new business methods essentially became intertwined, and that led to the USPTO reversing its position and starting to grant business process patents. But there is an awful lot of controversy around them.