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Ex parte Egan

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Citation Edit

Ex parte Egan, 129 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 23 (Pat. Off. Bd. App. 1960).

Factual Background Edit

The claimed process was for measuring the depth of well bores. It involved certain procedures such as (1) plotting one set of values on the first chart; (2) scaling off and reading from the chart a second set of values in a particular way on a second chart; and (3) using this second chart to obtain the desired set of end-values. This process, which is analogous to a method of operating a computer, could be practiced by an unskilled operator who did not understand the mathematical processes involved in solving difficult problems in solid geometry.

Patent Office Board of Appeals Proceedings Edit

The claim was ruled patentable because a process of utilizing apparatus in a particular way in get the useful result of doing tedious, time-consuming work by relatively unskilled workers is a statutory process. The applicant's precalculated charts, which could be looked upon as analogous to a calculating machine, were ruled a manufacture under the patent statute because they were specified as a necessary and essential part of the method. The court said:

We agree that the process under consideration is properly analogous to a method of operating a computer, since the charts employed are quite analogous to a preconstructed computer. The method of operations in operating a computer are distinct from the method of computation itself. It is perfectly possible to have a patentable process in which apparatus is used in a particular way to get a useful result.[1]

The appellate board accepted the Abrams rules as established law.

ReferencesEdit

  1. 129 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) at 26.

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