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In re Lowry (32 F.3d 1579, 1994 Aug 26)

Decision Parameters

Decisions It Cites

    In re Bernhart [417 F.2d 1395, 1969]

Decisions That Cite It

Rules & Quotes

{1} The printed matter cases have no factual relevance where "the invention as defined by the claims requires that the information be processed not by the mind but by a machine, the computer." Id. (emphasis in original). Lowry's data structures, which according to Lowry greatly facilitate data management by data processing systems, are processed by a machine. Indeed, they are not accessible other than through sophisticated software systems. The printed matter cases have no factual relevance here. Nor are the data structures analogous to printed matter. Lowry's ADOs do not represent merely underlying data in a database. ADOs contain both information used by application programs and information regarding their physical interrelationships within a memory. Lowry's claims dictate how application programs manage information. Thus, Lowry's claims define functional characteristics of the memory.

[PHYSICAL] {2} Lowry's data structures, while including data resident in a database, depend only functionally on information content. While the information content affects the exact sequence of bits stored in accordance with Lowry's data structures, the claims require specific electronic structural elements which impart a physical organization on the information stored in memory. Lowry's invention manages information. As Lowry notes, the data structures provide increased computing efficiency. ... More than mere abstraction, the data structures are specific electrical or magnetic structural elements in a memory. According to Lowry, the data structures provide tangible benefits: data stored in accordance with the claimed data structures are more easily accessed, stored, and erased. Lowry further notes that, unlike prior art data structures, Lowry's data structures simultaneously represent complex data accurately and enable powerful nested operations. In short, Lowry's data structures are physical entities that provide increased efficiency in computer operation. They are not analogous to printed matter.

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