Table of Contents: Introduction to the online version Preface to the printed version - History - Benson - Flook - Applying for a Software Patent |
Home Copyright/Other Information Send Comments Chapter 5: Software-Based Inventions ## I.D. The Supreme Court’s Flook DecisionAbout the same time as A method for updating the value of at least one alarm limit on at least one process variable involved in a process comprising the catalytic chemical conversion of hydrocarbons wherein said alarm limit has a current value of Bo+K wherein Bo is the current alarm base and K is a predetermined alarm offset which comprises: (1) Determining the present value of said process variable, said present value being defined as PVL; (2) Determining a new alarm base, B1, using the following equation: B1 = Bo(1.0-F)+PVL(F) where F is a predetermined number greater than zero and less than 1.0; (3) Determining an updated alarm limit which is defined as B1+K; and, thereafter (4) Adjusting said alarm limit to said updated alarm limit value. The CCPA framed the issue as whether a processes that uses a mathematical algorithm in an otherwise statutory process (in this case, a chemical conversion process), rather than is wholly a mathematical algorithm, is statutory. The CCPA stated that if a mathematical algorithm is claimed for a particular use but not all possible uses, it does not preempt the mathematical algorithm and is therefore statutory subject matter. The Patent Office appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, in The process itself, not merely the mathematical algorithm, must be new and useful. Indeed, the novelty of the mathematical algorithm is not a determining factor at all. Whether the algorithm was in fact known or unknown at the time of the claimed invention, as one of the “basic tools of scientific and technological work,” it is treated as though it were a familiar part of the prior art. {FN24: 437 U.S. at 591-592, 198 USPQ at 198 (citations omitted)} Because the chemical process, absent Flook’s particular alarm limits formula, was well-known, the Court ruled that the claims did not recite statutory subject matter. Remember, though, that we are trying to determine only whether Section 101 is satisfied, not whether Section 102’s novelty or Section 103’s nonobviousness requirements are met. The Court has imported novelty considerations into statutory subject matter. In light of The second step of the In order to determine whether a mathematical algorithm is “preempted” by a claim under When this court has heretofore applied its While we have stated the test in terms of preemption, we have consistently applied it in the spirit of the foregoing principles. Since we have noted that Next section: Chakrabary and Diehr Copyright © 2002, Lee A. Hollaar. See information regarding permitted usage. |