Diamond v. Diehr, 101 S. Ct. 1048 (1981).
Authority for Congress to enact the patent laws is found in the Constitution: “The Congress shall have power … to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for Limited times for Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” The patent laws are codified in title 35 of the United States Code.
The purpose behind patents is to advance knowledge. This is done in two ways. First, patents encourage inventions by offering exclusive enjoyment of the discovery for seventeen years. Second, patents add to the public knowledge. Patent applications disclose the discovery sufficiently to enable one skilled in the subject to duplicate the invention. This allows the invention to be duplicated upon expiration of the seventeen-year period. The patent system, therefore, provides only limited benefit to private individuals, primarily benefiting the public. To qualify for patent protection an invention must be patentable subject matter, new, useful, and non-obvious. Until recently most litigation involved the latter three requirements; however, a number of recent cases have attempted to define statutory subject matter., The increased interest in subject matter has resulted from attempts to patent computer software and inventions which incorporate software.
This note will discuss Diamond v. Diehr, the first United States Supreme Court decision to allow a patent on a process including a programmed digital computer.
Kramer, Michael J.
"Patent Law: Patentability of a Process That Includes a Programmed Digital Computer: The Court Invents a New Standard,"
University of Dayton Law Review: Vol. 7:
1, Article 10.
Available at: https://ecommons.udayton.edu/udlr/vol7/iss1/10