Is the software patentable subject matter?
Scenario: A large consumer store, BuyMe, has conducted extensive research over the susceptibility to advertising of its potential customers. BuyMe finds that store loyalty is very “sticky” – that is, people are unlikely to change stores except at significant life-change moments, such as the birth of a child. But it also finds that those who have just had children are too busy to pay attention to advertising. The key is to identify women who are about to give birth and advertise to them heavily before the baby is born. BuyMe’s demographers and statisticians conduct an extensive research program and find that pregnant women show distinct purchasing patterns – they tend to shift to cosmetic products with fewer fragrances, they purchase bland crackers and so on. BuyMe develops a predictive statistical formula that identifies these women in its customer base and produces a software application that employs the formula to “tag” their customer IDs with a particular probability of pregnancy. The application proves to be extremely accurate, sometimes even identifying women as potentially pregnant before they know it themselves. The CEO of BuyMe is excited by the software and believes he can market it to advertisers across the United States.
Answer the following: (i) Is the software patentable subject matter?
(ii) You are shown the current draft of the patent application. It states as the utility “a program accurately to identify women who may be particularly good advertising targets.” Does this satisfy the utility requirement? Do you have suggested drafting changes?