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In re Alappat (33 F.3d 1526, 1994 Jul 29)

Decision Parameters

  • Case: In re Alappat
  • Date: 1994 Jul 29
  • Code: 33 F.3d 1526
  • Court: Federal Circuit
  • Vote: 7-2
  • URL: casetext.com/case/alappat-in-re
  • Patent:

Decisions It Cites

    In re Prater II [415 F.2d 1393, 1969]
    Gottschalk v. Benson [409 U.S. 63, 1972]
    In re Johnson [589 F.2d 1070, 1978]
    Parker v. Flook [437 U.S. 584, 1978]
    Diamond v. Chakrabarty [447 U.S. 303, 1980]
    Diamond v. Diehr [450 U.S. 175, 1981]
    In re Iwahashi [888 F.2d 1370, 1989]

Decisions That Cite It

Rules & Quotes

[ALGORITHM] {1} This is not a disembodied mathematical concept which may be characterized as an "abstract idea", but rather a specific machine to produce a useful, concrete, and tangible result. The fact that the four claimed means elements function to transform one set of data to another through what may be viewed as a series of mathematical calculations does not alone justify a holding that the claim as a whole is directed to nonstatutory subject matter. See In re Iwahashi, 888 F.2d at 1375.

[ALGORITHM] {2} Indeed, claim 15 as written is not "so abstract and sweeping" that it would "wholly pre-empt" the use of any apparatus employing the combination of mathematical calculations recited therein. See Benson, 409 U.S. at 68-72,93 S.Ct. at 255-58 (1972). Rather, claim 15 is limited to the use of a particularly claimed combination of elements performing the particularly claimed combination of calculations to transform, i.e., rasterize, digitized waveforms (data) into anti-aliased, pixel illumination data to produce a smooth waveform.

[MACHINE] {3} Alappat admits that claim 15 would read on a general purpose computer programmed to carry out the claimed invention, but argues that this alone also does not justify holding claim 15 unpatentable as directed to nonstatutory subject matter. We agree. We have held that such programming creates a new machine, because a general purpose computer in effect becomes a special purpose computer once it is programmed to perform particular functions pursuant to instructions from program software. In re Freeman, 573 F.2d 1237, 1247 n. 11, 197 USPQ 464, 472 n. 11 (CCPA 1978); In re Noll, 545 F.2d 141, 148, 191 USPQ 721, 726 (CCPA 1976); In re Prater, 415 F.2d at 1403 n. 29, 162 USPQ at 549-50 n. 29.

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