In re McIlroy

Posted by Anton Hughes on Wednesday, March 22, 2006 with No comments

Citation

In re Malcolm D. McIlroy (1971) 58 CCPA 1249; 442 F.2d 1397

Jurisdiction

US Court of Customs and Patent Appeals

Facts

P had a patent for "Machine Processing of Symbolic Data Constitutuents" rejected on the basis that "only machine-implemented methods can be statutory, at least where information processing is concerned, and that the claims do not require machine implementation" (at 1249).

Outcome

Patent upheld.

Ratio

  • Machine implementation vs. mental implementation is not a determinative dichotomy in deciding whether a method is non-statutory. (at 1249)
  • A process having practical value other than enhancing the internal operation of digital computers was in the technological arts and hence statutory under ß101. (at 1249)

Relevance

A very short judgement, and hence stark in its dismissal of the board's approach. Perhaps a bit strange for its reliance in the second bulleted part of the ratio on its own decision in In re Benson, a decision that was overturned by the Supreme Court in Gottschalk v Benson.