Case 9: Gottschalk v. Benson (1972)

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Benson et al. filed for a patent for converting binary coded decimal numbers into pure binary numbers in a method not specific to a certain application or apparatus. They attempted to claim for any use of their system in a general-purpose digital computer. The Supreme Courted granted certiorari to determine whether or not the claim constituted a "process" under U.S. patent law.

The claims in question are algorithms, or procedures by which a computer may solve a mathematical problem. In this case, the algorithm converts numbers from one form to the other. New programs may be written based on this basic function of the computer.