1. A system that facilitates managing product life cycle, comprising:
a data-receiving component that receives data on availability of components to a product and suitable substitution components and determines relevance of the components to the product;
Appellants argue that the claim necessarily requires computer implementation, because without the computer the functions recited in the claims, most notably notification to individuals, computers and systems cannot be performed.The Board affirmed the rejection of the claim under 102, however.
As the Examiner contends, it is the policy of this Office to not reject under statutory grounds novel and unobvious computer based algorithms when claimed as residing on a computer readable medium. Ex Parte Li, Appeal No. 2008-001213, (BPAI Nov. 6, 2008). The claims in the instant appeal, however, are composed of modules reciting functional algorithms or steps that are disclosed as embodied as software, but omitting the computer readable medium. (Spec. ¶ ).
The recent CAFC decision In re Bilski, discussed above, addressed the statutory limitations of method claims. While method steps are incorporated in the appealed claims, for which neither a particular machine nor a transformation of an article is present, the claims are at least nominally styled as system claims.
For guidance on system claims, we look instead to the precedential Ex Parte Gutta, 2009 WL 2563524 (BPAI 2009). For a machine or manufacture that embodies an algorithm expressed as a series of steps, we are guided, based on Flook, Benson and Diehr, to see if the claim 1) recites a mathematical algorithm applied to a tangible practical application that resulted in a real-world use, and 2) did not encompass substantially all practical applications of the mathematical algorithm. (Ex Parte Gutta 2009 WL 2563524, at *7).
We look to representative claim 1 and notice, as the Appellants point out, that one of the components will notify an individual, computer or other system regarding the obsolescence or risk to EOL of the components of a product. (App. Br. 5-6). We find this notification of the end of life risks of the product to be a real-world use of the system, including the algorithm as claimed. While we do not necessarily endorse the useful, concrete and tangible tests, as addressed by the Appellants, we do find sufficient support for satisfaction of the Ex Parte Gutta test. We thus agree that the Appellants have demonstrated error in the Examiner’s rejection under 35 U.S.C. § 101. (emphasis added)