The IT Law Wiki


In re Waldbaum (Waldbaum I), 457 F.2d 997, 173 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 430 (C.C.P.A. 1972) (full-text).


The invention was a method of analyzing data words to determine the number of binary 1’s they contained. The claims were limited to such language as "data processor" and "register."[1] Patent Office objections based on Sections 100(b) and 101 were overruled.

C.C.P.A. Proceedings[]

The principal point of interest was the C.C.P.A.'s elaboration of the Musgrave "technological arts" test: "The phrase 'technological arts,' as we have used it, is synonymous with the phrase 'useful arts' as it appears in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution."[2]

Judge Rich filed a concurring opinion, apparently only for the purpose of refining the majority's statement.

The phrase "useful arts" which was written into the Constitution conjures up images of the Franklin stove, horse collars, and buggy whips, The term "technological arts" was selected in Musgrave as probably having a connotation in these times roughly equivalent to that which "useful arts" had in the eighteenth century. No new legal concept was intended. . . . Now we have come full circle in pointing out that the intention all along has been to convey the same idea and to occupy whatever ground the Constitution permits with respect to the categories of patentable subject matter named in Section 101.[3]


  1. 457 F.2d at 1000, 173 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) at 432.
  2. Id. at 1003, 173 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) at 434.
  3. Id. at 1003-04, 173 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) at 435 (Rich, J., concurring).