Gottschalk v. Benson (901422128)

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Read for 2/7/11

Reading Notes

  • Benson filed a patent for a method for converting numerical information from binary-coded decimal numbers into pure binary numbers
    • Ruled as merely a series of mathematical calculations or mental steps
  • Claims were not limited to any specific machine, technology, use, etc.
  • Need to determine if the method described is a "process"
    • The procedure in the present claim is an algorithm
  • The conversion from BCD to pure binary can be done mentally using a table
    • This method varies the ordinary human steps by changing the order and symbolism and by taking subtotals after each operation
  • Cite previous examples of including a law into a process
    • Claims need to be limited to a specific arrangement of machinery or something similar

Laws of patentability

  • Phenomena of nature, mental processes, and abstract intellectual concepts cannot be patented
    • A novel and useful structure created with the air of one of these may be patentable
  • The key to the patentability of a process which does not involve a specific machine is

A process is a mode of treatment of certain materials to produce a given result. It is an act, or a series of acts, performed upon the subject-matter to be transformed and reduced to a different state or thing.

    • Process patent must either use a particular machine or apparatus or must change the articles or materials to a different state or thing
  • Creation of programs has grown substantially without patent protection

Class Notes