In re Fox

Posted by Anton Hughes on Monday, April 10, 2006 with No comments

Citation

In the Matter of the Application of Calvin L. Fox (1973) 471 F.2d 1405; 1973 CCPA LEXIS 430

Jurisdiction

US Court of Customs and Patent Appeals

Facts

Relates to a patent application for a process for audio information distribution, namely the making of a tape recording, transmitting the master tape to a distribution point, making a plurality of copies and letting the users bring back their tape when they are through. The application was rejected by the examiner and board of appeals based on 35 USC ß101 as a method of doing business, and on 35 USC ß103 on the grounds of obviousness.

Outcome

The court agreed the invention was not patentable due to obviousness.

Ratio

  • The court declined to consider the non-statutory subject matter issue.
  • The claims were essentially a tape lending library operation wherein the library made copies as demand warrants.
  • All of the equipment and technical knowledge was old, and "anyone desiring to carry out the process would know of the equipment and techniques to be used, none being specifically described." (per Rich J at 1407)

Relevance

Not much relevance really, except that the examiner and board rejected on the basis that it was a "method of doing business". The court sidestepped that issue however.