MPEP 2106.04(a)(1)
Examples of Claims That Do Not Recite Abstract Ideas

Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 07.2022, Last Revised in February 2023

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2106.04(a)(1)    Examples of Claims That Do Not Recite Abstract Ideas [R-10.2019]

When evaluating a claim to determine whether it recites an abstract idea, examiners should keep in mind that while "all inventions at some level embody, use, reflect, rest upon, or apply laws of nature, natural phenomenon, or abstract ideas", not all claims recite an abstract idea. See Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank, Int’l, 573 U.S. 208, 217, 110 USPQ2d 1976, 1980-81 (2014) (citing Mayo Collaborative Servs. v. Prometheus Labs. Inc., 566 US 66, 71, 101 USPQ2d 1961, 1965 (2012)). The Step 2A Prong One analysis articulated in MPEP § 2106.04 accounts for this cautionary principle by requiring a claim to recite (i.e., set forth or describe) an abstract idea in Prong One before proceeding to the Prong Two inquiry about whether the claim is directed to that idea, thereby separating claims reciting abstract ideas from those that are merely based on or involve an abstract idea.

Some claims are not directed to an abstract idea because they do not recite an abstract idea, although it may be apparent that at some level they are based on or involve an abstract idea. Because these claims do not recite an abstract idea (or other judicial exception), they are eligible at Step 2A Prong One (Pathway B).

Non-limiting hypothetical examples of claims that do not recite (set forth or describe) an abstract idea include:

  • i. a printer comprising a belt, a roller, a printhead and at least one ink cartridge;
  • ii. a washing machine comprising a tub, a drive motor operatively connected to the tub, a controller for controlling the drive motor, and a housing for containing the tub, drive motor, and controller;
  • iii. an earring comprising a sensor for taking periodic blood glucose measurements and a memory for storing measurement data from the sensor;
  • iv. a method for sequencing BRCA1 gene sequences comprising: amplifying by a polymerization chain reaction technique all or part of a BRCA1 gene from a tissue sample from a human subject using a set of primers to produce amplified nucleic acids; and sequencing the amplified nucleic acids;
  • v. a method for loading BIOS into a local computer system which has a system processor and volatile memory and non-volatile memory, the method comprising the steps of: responding to powering up of the local computer system by requesting from a memory location remote from the local computer system the transfer to and storage in the volatile memory of the local computer system of BIOS configured for effective use of the local computer system, transferring and storing such BIOS, and transferring control of the local computer system to such BIOS;
  • vi. a method of rearranging icons on a graphical user interface (GUI) comprising the steps of: receiving a user selection to organize each icon based on the amount of use of each icon, determining the amount of use of each icon by using a processor to track the amount of memory allocated to the application associated with the icon over a period of time, and automatically moving the most used icons to a position in the GUI closest to the start icon of the computer system based on the determined amount of use; and
  • vii. a method of training a neural network for facial detection comprising: collecting a set of digital facial images, applying one or more transformations to the digital images, creating a first training set including the modified set of digital facial images; training the neural network in a first stage using the first training set, creating a second training set including digital non-facial images that are incorrectly detected as facial images in the first stage of training; and training the neural network in a second stage using the second training set.