"Q: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently has been trying to curtail the flood of software and business method patent applications by limiting the interpretation of what constitutes patentable subject matter. What accounts for this deluge of business method applications? A: The PTO has been deluged, truly, with patent applications on various methodologies that involve the use of a computer. I have applications on … business methods, and we file periodic status reports for the patent office so we can find out when these patent applications are going to be examined. You write one, you file it, and you wait until it gets assigned to a particular patent examiner before it gets reviewed and the overall process starts. I have been getting responses now that say it may be a year or two before it gets to an examiner, and it may be as much as five years. That’s why the patent office doesn’t want any more; they can’t handle what they’ve got."