Citation Edit

In re McIlroy, 442 F.2d 1397, 170 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 31 (C.C.P.A. 1971) (full-text).

Factual Background Edit

McIlroy claimed a method for retrieving symbolic data from a stored string, and at least one of the process claims was readable upon human practice.[1]

C.C.P.A. Court Proceedings Edit

The Patent Office again asserted Section 101 objections, but the patience of the C.C.P.A. had run out. In an opinion occupying little more than one-half page, the court, in effect, sent the Patent Office back to read the opinions in Musgrave and Benson and stated that "machine implementation vs. mental implementation is not determinative in deciding whether a method is statutory under 35 U.S.C. 101.”[2]

Comments Edit

In retrospect, the delivery of that bald statement may have been a serious tactical error, since Benson was soon to go before U.S. Supreme Court justices who were particularly sensitive to perceived trammels on thought.


  1. Id. at 1398, 170 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) at 31.
  2. Id.

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