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In re Iwahashi (888 F.2d 1370, 1989 Nov 07)

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Decisions It Cites

Decisions That Cite It

    State Street Bank v. Signature Financial [149 F.3d 1368, 1998]
    In re Alappat [33 F.3d 1526, 1994]

Rules & Quotes

[PROCESS] {1} We note these discussions of the meaning of "algorithm" to take the mystery out of the term and we point out once again that every step-by-step process, be it electronic or chemical or mechanical, involves an algorithm in the broad sense of the term. Since § 101 expressly includes processes as a category of inventions which may be patented and § 100(b) further defines the word "process" as meaning "process, art or method, and includes a new use of a known process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or material," it follows that it is no ground for holding a claim is directed to nonstatutory subject matter to say it includes or is directed to an algorithm. This is why the proscription against patenting has been limited to mathematical algorithms and abstract mathematical formulae which, like the laws of nature, are not patentable subject matter.

[PROCESS] {2} Though the claim starts out by saying in clause [a] that it is a "unit", appellants prefer to characterize what they claim as apparatus with specific structural limitations. By the Solicitor's own analysis of the claim in the column labeled "Drawings", supra, we are constrained to agree. Appellants emphasize that they specify a ROM in clause [d] to which is fed an input from an adder specified in clause [c]. The Solicitor states that [c] and [d] are connected together by a signal path. Next are means in the form of disclosed electronic circuitry which take from the ROM its output in the form of squares of numbers supplied as ROM input and feed them to a calculating circuit [h]. The claim as a whole certainly defines apparatus in the form of a combination of interrelated means and we cannot discern any logical reason why it should not be deemed statutory subject matter as either a machine or a manufacture as specified in Section 101. The fact that the apparatus operates according to an algorithm does not make it nonstatutory.

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