Dear Ladies and Gentleman:
This initial intellectual property (IP) presentation is an introduction to computer related inventions and patent-eligibility of mathematical equations. This presentation is also Part 3 of my series entitled “Five Potential IP Pitfalls and Five Cost-effective IP Recommendations for Businesses.” The discussion is appropriate for non-attorney individuals who require IP information to successfully run a going concern or begin a business.
Exceptions to Patent Eligibility
Initially, the business owner should be aware that there are exceptions to patentable-eligible subject matter in the United States:
- abstract ideas, include pure mathematical equations;
- laws of nature, such as equations for calculating electrical power; and
- natural events such equations which describe human blood flow velocity and vibrations in the earth’s crust.
Patent Eligible Computer Related Devices
Consequently, if you invest in patent protection for a computer related device, the invention must include more than a mathematic operation. Computer related devices may be at a minimum, a computer readable medium which increases computer efficiency. Another example of a patent eligible device may be a computer which contains tangible structures to implement a functional relationship with the computer program.
Patent Eligible Computer Related Processes
To initially qualify for patent eligibility, computer related processes, as well as other processes, must (i) physically change a tangible object and/or (ii) be implemented by at least one machine. Examples of patent eligible computer related processes include:
- A computer regulated process for curing rubber;
- A computer moderated process which implements a program within a computer to receive and transform electrical signals of scanned patient images; and
- A computer moderated process which receives and transforms electrical signals in a computer when these signals represent human cardiac activity.
Process 1 is patent eligible because it causes a physical change to liquid rubber. Processes 2 and 3 are patent-eligible because there is a physical transformation of electrical signals which represent tangible events or objects such as a human body.
The most serious pitfall to avoid is the disclosure of your invention as primarily a mathematical formula in your patent application. This means that there should be as much technical information as possible in your initially filed application.
My next blog will continue “Pitfalls in Computer Related Patent Applications.” My first four presentations on intellectual property were originally directed to a specific business group. Consequently, I will post these previous presentations on this blog after I complete the initial postings.