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In re Mahony

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Citation Edit

In re Mahony, 421 F.2d 742, 164 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 572 (C.C.P.A. 1970) (full-text).

Factual Background Edit

Mahony was the first case to consider claims to a process beginning and ending within a digital computer. The applicant claimed a new method of identifying framing bits in a "receiver of digital information, such as a digital computer" and disclosed digital circuitry in block diagram form as well as an algorithm.[1]

C.C.P.A. Proceedings Edit

The "mental steps" doctrine constituted the basis of the Patent Office's rejections; and the examiner demonstrated to the court that the algorithm could be practiced by pencil and paper.[2] The court declined to address the "mental steps" issue and reaffirmed its intention to confine the relevance of mental practice to Section 112 scrutiny.[3]

The claims were sustained when the court found the recital of "bits" and "bit stream" sufficient to limit the claims to machine practice.[4] The examiner was found to be operating not on a bit stream but on a "character representation" of a bit stream when following the algorithm by hand.[5]

References Edit

  1. Id. at 743-44, 164 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) at 573-74.
  2. Id. at 744, 164 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) at 574.
  3. Id. at 745, 164 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) at 575.
  4. Id. at 746-47, 164 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) at 575-76.
  5. Id.

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