June 17, 2006 Ray Chen / Linda Therkorn Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Patent Examination Policy
c/o Mail Stop Comments
P.O. Box 1450
Alexandria, VA 22313-1450
Dear Ray / Linda,
Your office is currently seeking comments on the "Interim Guidelines for Examination of Patent Applications for Patent Subject Matter".
One of the questions you ask is: "Is the distinction between physical transformation and data transformation appropriate in the context of the Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Interim Guidelines?"
My first comment is that this question is worded incorrectly. Something more appropriate would be:
– Is the distinction between physical transformation and data/information transformation appropriate in the context of the Patent Subject Matter eligibility Interim Guidelines? –
given that one standard definition of "information" is a "set of data".
To this latter question, and even the original question, the answer based on modern physics is "NO" – transforming data and transforming information is always a physical transformation, in light of information’s role as a fundamental physical quantity of modern physics.
Included in this mailing is a copy of a book for your reading, titled "Decoding the Universe: how the new science of information is explaining everything in the cosmos from our brains to black holes" by Charles Seife (Viking Press, 2006). It is an excellent introduction to the physics of information, and should help your Office relate the question you ask to developments in modern physics.
Information is physical. Transforming information is a physical transformation. Any other view is a denial of the science of modern physics, a science the patent system helps progress. There is no progress in denying any aspect of such science. If you have any questions, please contact me.