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US8249994 Claim 19 appears to claim no more than:

  • A mineral lease management system (managing information about oil and gas leases and wells)
  • Allowing a user to input data about a lease over the Internet
  • The lease data includes:

    • Identification of the land
    • Identification of the lease
    • A royalty amount or the lessor or the lessee or the term of the lease

These programs have been around for decades - except the Internet portion. iLandman, landpro, etc

Looking for prior art adding the Internet portion.

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2 Answers 2

Horrible, I agree. Without any doubt fundamentally unpatentable in many jurisdictions for lack of technical character alone (business method). Even if one were to move into an obviousness discussion, performing a known method unspecifically "over the Internet" and by "storing data in a database" certainly does not require inventive activity. Examiner fatigue maybe? Everybody involved stopped reading after claim 10?

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In contrast to claim 19, it seems to me that there is more going on in claim 1.

Claim 1 is:

  1. A system for managing mineral interest, comprising: a computer;

at least one database for storing oil and gas mineral interest data associated with an area of land, said oil and gas mineral interest data including deed records relating to deeds relating to oil and gas mineral interests associated with the area of land, lease records relating to leasing of oil and gas mineral interests associated with the area of land, and well records associated with wells drilling on the oil, and gas mineral interests associated with the area of land;

at least one server for enabling generation of a graphical user interface in a web browser at a plurality of locations over an open network, the graphical user interface enabling creation and editing of the deed records, lease records and well records stored in the at least one database from the plurality of locations over the open network, the graphical user interface further enabling viewing of deed records, lease records and well records from the plurality of locations over the open network, wherein the at least one server provides a view of a mineral interest via the graphical user interface which shows a relationship between at least one instance of a deed record, at least one instance of a lease record, and at least one instance of a well record;

a deed management page provided by the at least one server enabling a user to generate new deed records and edit existing deed records stored in the at least one database as part of the oil and gas mineral interest data;

a lease management page provided by the at least one server enabling a user to generate new lease records and edit existing, lease records stored in the at least one database as part of the oil and gas mineral interest data comprising at least one of royalty data and land description data; and

a well management page provided by the at least one server enabling a user to generate new well records and edit existing well records stored in the at least one database as part of the oil and gas mineral interest data.

Pertinent to the actual question, it is hard to argue that claim 19 has much in the way of solid limitations:

  1. A method, comprising: receiving, at an interest management system, one or more data input communication packets that have been transmitted over the Internet, the one or more data input communication packets containing lease data inputs that have been provided by a user in a lease data input field in a lease management page, wherein the lease data inputs comprise an identification of an area of land associated with a lease as well as one or more of a royalty amount for the lease, an identification of a lessor, an identification of a lessee, and a term of the lease; and storing the lease data inputs into a database.

I agree that it might be the case that someone assumed claim 1 was the broadest by virtue of being claim 1 and was't very careful looking at this claim.

(Note that in the U.S. neither technical character nor inventive step per se are material in the US patent system.)

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Claim 19 is an independent claim, just like claim 1. Which is why we're discussion claim 19. Would you care to elaborate on "inventive step is not material in the US"? Frankly, that would be news to me - at least on a hypothetical level. –  Dr. Stephen Falken Jan 28 '13 at 22:58
    
In the U.S. claims are considered as a whole. As I understand it, much of the world dissects a claim into portions that are old and the added inventive step on top of the old. In those systems finding a single closest prior set and analyzing exactly what the inventive steps over it is a key to determining patentability. In the US if a claim calls for an A a B and a C we do not analyze in terms, for example, that A and B are old and C represents an inventive step. –  George White Jan 29 '13 at 20:29
    
In above comment "prior set" should be "prior art reference". –  George White Jan 29 '13 at 21:05
    
Thanks for pointing out that I was addressing the wrong claim. I have modified my answer to agree with Dr. S. F. –  George White Jan 30 '13 at 4:49

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