Phonetic Symbol System Not Patent Eligible

In re Wang (Fed. Cir. 2018) (nonprecedential)

In a non-precedential decision, the Federal Circuit has rejected George Wang’s pro se appeal — affirming the PTAB judgment that Wang’s claimed phonetic symbol system lacks eligibility under Section 101.

The baseline here is that the written english language is only quasi-phonetic.  Every rule of spelling or pronunciation has layers of exceptions.  Linguists have developed a phonetic pronunciation guides, but those use quirky non-english letters.  Wang’s invention here offers a one-to-one system tying each vowel and consonant sound to a single phonetic symbol, and uses only English letters for the phonetic symbols. Table 1 below comes from Wang’s patent application and offers an example embodiment of his system:

The claim (slightly edited for clarity):

A phonetic symbol system comprising:

a plurality of phonetic symbols,

wherein each of said phonetic symbols is defined by one (or more than one) letter of English alphabet, the case or the style of said letter does not affect the sounds of said phonetic symbols,

[said phonetic symbols include] vowel phonetic symbols and consonant phonetic symbols . . . ,

each vowel [sound] is distinctively represented by one of said vowel phonetic symbols, and each consonant [sound] is distinctively represented by one of said consonant phonetic symbols.

Rather than reaching the more controversial aspects of eligibility, the court here first focused on the statutory requirement that a patent must be directed to a “process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter.” 35 U.S.C. 101.  Since the claim is not directed to any concrete physical form, it cannot be a machine, manufacture, or composition of matter.  Further, because the claim does not actually require performance of any steps, then it cannot be defined as a process.

Without analysis, the court also agreed with the PTO that “defining phonetic symbols in language, using strings of English letters, is an unpatentable abstract idea” and  that the claims offer nothing beyond the abstract idea:

[W]here, as here, claims of a patent application recite an abstract idea, the question becomes whether they contain “additional features” that embody an “inventive concept,” so as to nevertheless make them patenteligible. Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd v. CLS Bank Int’l, 134 S. Ct.
2347 (2014). The application claims on appeal, however, contain no “additional features” of any kind embodying an inventive concept. The claims merely encompass strings of English letters representing sounds. In short, there is no inventive concept that rescues them from patent ineligibility.

Rejection affirmed.

As the old saying goes, part of Mr. Wang’s problem is that he “has a fool for a client.”  Patent law and procedure is at such a high level of complexity that it very rarely makes sense for an inventor to represent himself — especially at the appellate level.

My question for the patent attorneys and agents here: Is there a way for Wang to turn this case around by amending the claims so that they recite a particular method.  [Read the application here: https://patents.google.com/patent/US20130054227]  Is this the type of idea that patent law should cover?  Consider U.S. Patent No. 7,004,758.

57 thoughts on “Phonetic Symbol System Not Patent Eligible

  1. 8

    I tried posting the following yesterday, but it seems to be still lingering in the quarantine pen. This time I don’t include a picture, in case this was what caused the hang-up.
    —————–
    I understand the alleged invention to be a phonetic system for representing speech using case-insensitive Latin characters without diacritics.

    I don’t know how you could monetize this in practice. What are you selling, and to whom? Is the claim providing a solution to an “industrial” problem? What activity or article of manufacture infringes on the claim? Is the cost of circumventing it less than the financial expectations of the proprietor? The argument on claim category is IMO valid. What is the applicants’ goal? Vanity and/or a quest for recognition, as it so often the case with private inventors? I note that there is a parallel Chinese application, but I can’t determine if they have more success there, as the SIPO site is currently down.

    Under the EPC, I think I would have tried to argue the invention to be unpatentable under one of the cases of Art. 52(2), in particular (d), presentations of information. In any case, objections under Art. 52 or 53 are infrequent, and unpleasant to raise, as they too often involve labeling, i.e. : “merely”, “just”, “only”, “as such”, “abstract”, resulting in sterile rounds of “It is like I say”/”It ain’t like you say”… Industrial applicability (Art. 57 EPC) would be a path. I see 35 USC 112 rejections in the record, which have the same general philosophy.

    In my opinion, w.r.t. claim categories as viewed under the EPC, this application cannot be redeemed as it stands, as I can find no substrate in the disclosure for supporting an industrally applicable claim, which would be directed to an actual statutory method or apparatus (Rule 43 EPC). You would immediately run into Art. 123(2) EPC issues: The European patent application […] may not be amended in such a way that it contains subject-matter which extends beyond the content of the application as filed. This article is enforced at the EPO using the so-called gold standard that is much feared and loathed by US practitioners…

    The US statute has a comparable provision, 35 USC 132 (a) : […] No amendment shall introduce new matter into the disclosure of the invention.

    If this application was still at the drafting stage you might want to go after devices and methods related to speech recognition and synthesis, if this is actually what the inventors were after. (Who’s the inventor in that case? The drafter or his clients?) I have memories from the eighties of playing with a General Instruments speech synthesizer board. I can’t find its phoneme list. IIRC, the damned thing had an awful accent if you tried to use it for any language other than English. Like talking with a stuffed nose while chewing a hot potato.

    US7143033B2 provides an example of a claim for a device, namely a “transcriber for transcribing speech”. Its figure 3 on page 4/9 (excerpted below) are IMO novelty destroying for at least the latest independent claims of the present application.

    BTW, the assignee is the US Navy. I find a bit odd they would dabble in stuff which appears to be the province of a bunch of shady TLAs scattered around Fort Meade MD.

    BTW 2: There is a notice of appeal to the CAFC dated January 2017 in the PAIR record. Where are my PACER account credentials when I need them?

    1. 8.1

      If this application was still at the drafting stage you might want to go after devices and methods related to speech recognition and synthesis, if this is actually what the inventors were after. (Who’s the inventor in that case? The drafter or his clients?)

      DO NOT TOUCH THE THIRD RAIL

      DO NOT TOUCH THE THIRD RAIL

  2. 7

    If we were following precedent, claims like Wang’s wouldn’t even be controversial (assuming they’re novel, described, etc.). The Supreme Court already considered the following claim to essentially identical subject matter in O’Reilly v. Morse:

    ‘Fifth. I claim, as my invention, the system of signs, consisting of dots and spaces, and of dots, spaces, and horizontal lines, for numerals, letters, words, or sentences, substantially as herein set forth and illustrated, for telegraphic purposes.

    It then explicitly said that Morse had a right to a patent for that invention:

    We perceive no well-founded objection to the description which is given of the whole invention and its separate parts, NOR TO HIS RIGHT TO A PATENT FOR THE FIRST SEVEN INVENTIONS set forth in the specification of his claims. (emphasis added)

    Of course, claim drafting has changed a bit since O’Reilly v. Morse, but unless the case has been overruled the ultimate answers to whether Wang’s invention is the kind of thing that should be patentable and whether there should be some way to claim it should both be yes.

    1. 7.1

      Whether or not an old Sup. Ct. case is still an effective precedent in patent law almost always depends on what controlling statute was in effect at the time of that decision. Present 101 was enacted in 1952. Even Sup. Ct. constitutional law views have drastically changed in several respects from the 18th century era of O’Reilly v. Morse, et al.

      1. 7.1.1

        Whether or not an old Sup. Ct. case is still an effective precedent in patent law almost always depends on what controlling statute was in effect at the time of that decision.

        Absolutely.

        Maybe someone should inform the Supreme Court of that (or is that just one of those things that might be “dangerous”…?)

        Present 101 was enacted in 1952.

        Again, absolutely.

        Of course, there seems to be only a few of us that understand what that means. Judge Rich lead the way – and it was his doing that effectively rebuked the Court and the wayward Benson and Flook that brought about Chakrabarty and Diehr.

        Alas, the stones have effectively disappeared and no one seems able to recognize that which most all attorneys are sworn to do.

        It is just extremely odd that you of people would be expressing such thoughts, Paul.

        Oh wait – that’s because that old nose of wax is being sought to be bent to NOT include that particular claim of Morse (the one that HAD obtained approval from the Court).

        Or maybe (gasp) the Court’s own writings are simply and irretrievably self-conflicting…

    2. 7.2

      The fifth claim in Morse could be construed as a particular method of using a telegraph machine. In other words, the eligibility is imparted by the novel machine that is recited in the claim.

      Curious as to whether anyone subsequently tried to claim a different (improved?) code for use on the same machine.

      1. 7.2.1

        Wrong.

        What you suggest is actually an invalid condition of mixed categories.

        1. 7.2.1.1

          Codes and encodings have a lot of structure.

          Please read a book like Coding and Information Theory by Richard W. Hamming to learn about the structure of codes.

          The Courts have no problems with patent claims to codes and encodings.

          Here is an opinion from Judge Pfaelzer worth reading:

          Cal. Inst. of Tech. v. Hughes Communs., Inc., United States District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division, November 3, 2014, Decided; November 3, 2014, Filed, Case No. 2:13-cv-07245-MRP-JEM.

          In this case, In re Wang (Fed. Cir. 2018), the claimed idea of bijectively mapping speech sounds to lexical strings has no structure.

          In contrast, in US7004758B2 entitled Language phonetic system and method thereof , Kuojui Su claims structures of encoding of encoding English phonetic.

          I am not sure a phonetic orthographic system for English is particularly useful despite advocacy of a reformed English orthography.

          The genius of a useful orthography for a language often lies in its ability to represent many different dialectal pronunciations in a single system. I grew up with a somewhat old-fashioned “hill billy” pronunciation of English.

          For me “which” and “witch” are pronounced differently. The word “route” rhymes with “root” and does not have the same vowel sound as “house” does. I palatalize the initial consonant in “new” as /ny/. Yet anyone can read a text I write with his pronunciation and vice versa.

          There really is no need for a phonetic orthography for English, and I could make a good case that such an orthography has negative utility.

        2. 7.2.1.2

          back then mixing categories probably wasn’t even recognized as a thing.

        3. 7.2.1.3

          an invalid condition of mixed categories

          Claims can be eligible and invalid.

          1. 7.2.1.3.1

            You can’t mix categories.

            What you posit does that.

            What you posit is just not correct.

            1. 7.2.1.3.1.1

              There is nothing per se “invalid” about a method claim that recites a novel structure and there never was. Nice attempt at diversion though.

              1. 7.2.1.3.1.1.1

                I am not the one attempting the diversion – as typical, your Accuse Others meme is rather obvious.

                1. And just so it’s clear that you’re ignoring the straightforward response to your silliness I’ll repeat it again: there is nothing per se “invalid” about a method claim that recites a novel structure and there never was.

                2. I am not ignoring anything – it is you that is ignoring the problem of having a claim that mixed categories.

                3. a claim that mixed categories

                  Please define for everyone what you mean by the italicized phrase above, then show everyone where I “ignored” (LOL) the “problem.”

                  Or just stop digging.

                4. 7.2.1.3.1 is entirely clear and is already what you asked for.

                  You are the one (yet again), clutching the shovel…

                5. 7.2.1.3.1 is entirely clear

                  It’s conclusory, Billy. But it’s less “clear” than the muddy slime from which you and your fellow glibertarians arise when someone tosses a piece of human waste near the water line.

                  But we’ve known for a long time that you lack the ability to tell the difference between “conclusory” and “clear.” It’s just who you are, Billy.

                6. You confuse clarity and obvious truth for your send of “conclusory.”

                  This is a basic of patent law – one you should know.

      2. 7.2.2

        Even beyond any “mixed categories” view, what is wrong in Malcolm’s comment is the idea that eligibility is generated at a “piece part” element view.

        Eligibility remains something that the claim – as a whole – is determined for. It is not determined for a piece part element, with other things then merely along for the ride. Malcolm’s comment reflects a dissembling attempt to be able to merely parse claims and apply 35 USC 101 at an “element alone” type of analysis (thereby removing the “ordered combination” aspect). Further, in the claim listed to which Malcolm responds, the language does NOT appear to actually contain the claim to the novel machine and instead appears merely to be an indication of intended use.

        1. 7.2.2.1

          Anon focuses on an issue that baffles. Doesn’t the Alice two-part test explicitly tell us not to analyze a claim as a whole? It seems to require dissecting a claim. I refer to steps 2b and 2c. To me it seems as if SCOTUS is requiring the claim to be rewritten in Jepson or European two-part format in order to evaluate eligibility.

          1. 7.2.2.1.1

            Joachim,

            The scoreboard is broken.

            Part (and parcel) of the larger issue in regard to 35 USC 101 is the fact that the scoreboard IS broken.

            The Supreme Court has made a Gordian Knot out of its own “non-writing-but-writing” statutory law “interpretations.”

            You point out yet another “broken scoreboard” indicator. Congress has explicitly made the “Jepson format” to be an optional claim format***. Something that is optional cannot be treated as NOT an option. Malcolm often dissembles along this vector (with his “objective physical structure” claim format OPTION masquerading as NOT an option).

            *** if I am not mistaken, the actual use of the Jepson claim format option has trended now to BELOW 1%. I think that is was sometime near the end of last year that the good Prof ran a piece on that trend.

          2. 7.2.2.1.2

            “anon” has no idea what he’s talking about and he never has. Dennis let’s him run around here spewing nonsense because the online patent bar is filled with idi 0ts like “anon”. Meanwhile in the real world nobody gets away with his nonsense because it’s so easily demonstrated to be nonsense.

            1. 7.2.2.1.2.1

              What specific item do you think that I “do not know what I am talking about?”

              As to your patent bar comment, all that you do (again) is showcase your cognitive dissonance (you really should consider getting into a line of work in which you could believe in the innate value of the work product).

              As to any “demonstration” by you, your mindless ad hominem is simply not the demonstration that you think it to be.

              Maybe try engaging on the merits without your mindless ad hominem…

              1. 7.2.2.1.2.1.1

                That’s what I thought Malcolm – asking you to respond on the merits and with specificity without ad hominem and all you can do is remain silent.

                That silence screams volumes.

          3. 7.2.2.1.3

            There is no “requirement” for “rewriting” in the eligibility analysis. But by necessity (basic logic) you will almost always need to evaluate the claim elements against the prior art to determine if ineligible subject matter is being protected by the claim.

            Everybody knows this. It’s 2018. If you don’t understand this, go back to j er king yourself off to manga or whatever it is the maximalists do to entertain themselves.

            1. 7.2.2.1.3.1

              In a proper 101 analysis, there is zero need for a prior art determination. Eligibility really only has two “requirements”:
              1) can the innovation be portrayed in at least one category?
              2) does the innovation contain utility within the Useful Arts?

              That
              Is
              It

              1. 7.2.2.1.3.1.1

                Eligibility really only has two “requirements”:
                1) can the innovation be portrayed in at least one category?

                ROTFLMAO

                And the legal drinking age analysis requires looking into whether the individual is old enough to have a mouth.

              2. 7.2.2.1.3.1.2

                Anon, Again you zoom exactly in on my problem with the two-part Alice-Mayo test. I think you are saying the Prometheus claim should have been found valid. MM’s point is erroneous because the issue that SCOTUS addressed was not the claiming of ineligible subject matter because the Prometheus claim was certainly eligible if the claim were treated as a whole. SCOTUS was really addressing term extension or reclaiming by combining a prior art claim with a natural phenomenon. Despite MM’s assertion SCOTUS is really telling us to rewrite a claim at least implicitly into Jepson or into European 2-part claim format in order to determine eligibility.

                I would not be so troubled by the Alice 2-part test if SCOTUS had simply stated that the decision was judge-made law. I don’t see how pretending the decision follows from statutes or from previous decisions benefits anyone.

                1. I don’t see how pretending […] benefits anyone.

                  It doesn’t.

                  Of course, being honest about what they did would be tantamount to admitting that their decision is ultra vires (given that even the Supreme Court does not have carte blanche to engage in law writing of the common law variety (when the Constitution explicitly allocates authority for writing the law to one – and only one – particular branch).

                  That’s the elephant in the room.

                  It’s not as if our system does not allow Congress to share its authority.

                  It does.

                  But when shared, there are certain definite constraints that must be met – and those are NOT met with what the Supreme Court has done with the “nose of wax” of 35 USC 101.

                  That you are bothered only shows that you care.

                2. SCOTUS is really telling us to rewrite a claim at least implicitly

                  Good grief.

                  MM’s point is erroneous because the issue that SCOTUS addressed was not the claiming of ineligible subject matter

                  Oh, brother.

                3. Why good grief?

                  If MM had bothered to read patents relevant to this case, which consist of:

                  US5733915A Use of azathioprine to treat crohn’s disease; and

                  US6355623B2 Method of treating IBD/Crohn’s disease and related conditions wherein drug metabolite levels in host blood cells determine subsequent dosage, and

                  if MM had some understanding of the technology, he would have realized that Prometheus claim 1 staked out the invention of the first patent in combination with a natural phenomenon (in extremely non-inventive and obvious way).

                  Unfortunately, thanks to the principle of judicially recognized exceptions, said natural phenomenon does not qualify as 103 prior art.

                  If Prometheus claim 1 had been included in the first patent, it would certainly have been eligible.

                  The Prometheus inventor was just trying to reclaim in a very sneaky way exactly what had been claimed in a previously granted patent.

      3. 7.2.3

        The fifth claim in Morse could not be construed as a particular method of using a telegraph machine because the sixth claim in Morse was explicitly for a particular method of using a telegraph machine:

        Sixth. I also claim as my invention the system of signs, consisting of dots and spaces, and of dots, spaces, and horizontal lines, substantially as herein set forth and illustrated, in combination with machinery for recording them, as signals for telegraphic purposes.

        The Supreme Court noted that Morse had a right to patents for his first seven inventions, indicating that use of the system without tying to the machine was seen as a separate invention and also patentable.

        1. 7.2.3.1

          Thanks William – I keep on waiting for our friends like S. Morse to weigh in on this tidbit (given the chosen moniker and all)…

  3. 6

    To the question asked:

    It’s easy to turn this into a method that isn’t patent-eligible.

    It’s more difficult, but not impossible, to present such a method that is patent-eligible. That would involve a non-conventional problem in computer science – particularly: determining the phonetic representation of any given word. You can’t use any phonetic representation – you’d have to use one that matches up with this mapping, and present some significant technology to do it.

    If the mapping is “look up the phonetic representation in a hashtable,” then that may be pretty conventional. You might be able to win with the right examiner and argument as to why this is technically significant, but it would be an uphill battle.

    But there are more complex scenarios that present nontrivial challenges:

    * Start with speech analysis and map phonemes not to known words, but to phonemes. You’ll need a bespoke speech analysis algorithm for that.

    * Start with alphanumeric characters, and figure out phonetics algorithmically according to lexical context. This matters because some words are heteronyms: “read” may be “reed” or “red” depending on present vs. past tense.

    * Start with alphanumeric characters, and figure out phonetics algorithmically according to a personal or regional dialect. “Potayto vs. potahto,” or “appricot vs. aypricot,” or “pajammas vs. pajahmas,” etc.

    If the inventor has solved any of those problems, that may well provide not only a method, but a method with “significantly more” that is arguably novel, and of course by extension arguably non-conventional.

    1. 6.1

      But first get it into a statutory class. This is not rocket surgery.

      1. 6.1.1

        Which statutory class did your namesake’s claim 6 (of the famous case that saw claim 8 fall) reside in?

        Or did you take that namesake without understanding his story?

      2. 6.1.2

        It’s a pro se inventor.

        We can’t expect non-practitioners to understand the intricacies of the patent system. I’ve seen pro-se applications with claims that are multiple sentences, or with no statutory class at all (“I claim: self-learning functionality in a database”), or that just recite a principle and nothing else.

        I once saw a pro-se-filed application with a specification well over 200 pages, and where the independent claim was nearly two pages long. (The applicant was extremely proud of this claim and just wanted “a little help getting the examiner to understand the invention.”)

        Compared with those, this inventor’s system claim is beautiful.

        Still, it’s sad that the applicant invested this much effort and money only to have the application run aground on a pretty simple deficiency. I guess my interest is piqued about how many pro-se applications are filed annually, how they typically fare, and whether the PTO can and should be doing more to avoid waste of resources such as this.

        1. 6.1.2.1

          It’s a pro se inventor.

          Which part of the patent act should be disregarded when dealing with such applicants?

          We can’t expect non-practitioners to understand the intricacies of the patent system.

          But surely we can demand that they make the effort to understand the rejections, once these are made?

          I’ve seen pro-se applications with claims that are multiple sentences, or with no statutory class at all (“I claim: self-learning functionality in a database”), or that just recite a principle and nothing else.

          My favourite pro-se claim was “A gizmo characterised in that it is distinct from the prior art.” The bloke essentially copied the instructions from the German PTO guidelines for inventors, thinking it was some sort of magic incantation.

          I once saw a pro-se-filed application with a specification well over 200 pages, and where the independent claim was nearly two pages long. (The applicant was extremely proud of this claim and just wanted “a little help getting the examiner to understand the invention.”)

          So, the dilemma is either to issue something that is clearly worthless and unenforceable (which is a disservice to both the inventor and third-parties), or waste your own precious time teaching patent law to the fellow.

          Compared with those, this inventor’s system claim is beautiful.

          Agreed 100%. I’ve seen a lot worse, e.g. Yuly Zagyansky, whose patent applications bear witness to his descent into folly.

          Still, it’s sad that the applicant invested this much effort and money only to have the application run aground on a pretty simple deficiency.

          Disagreed. The inventors ought to have a strategy and a clear idea of how patents function before they file. If they can’t fix it after afterwards, tough luck.

          I guess my interest is piqued about how many pro-se applications are filed annually, how they typically fare,

          It is a bit difficult to identify these in US data, as assignment occurs some time after filing, or never.

          and whether the PTO can and should be doing more to avoid waste of resources such as this.

          Please enlighten me as to how to go about this without violating due process.

          One idea: Only grant fee rebates to small applicants who go through registered patent attorneys. Why should the USPTO (or the EPO) otherwise favour some applicants over others merely for the reason that they’re poor? (That seems to me to be an instance of that thing called”socialism” that is so reviled and abhorred by Murricans).

          1. 6.1.2.1.1

            In my first encounter with a pro se, in response to a rejection he copied the claims of the reference patent and submitted those as an amendment. Not for interference purposes; he did not know what an interference was. There was insufficient support for those claims in his application. When that amendment did not work, he filed new matter changing his invention from a clarinet mouthpiece to a wood-burning stove. When that was held non-responsive, he wrote a letter to POTUS demanding a refund of the fees he had paid for his patent. The letter and the POTUS response were, of course, routed back to the examiner in charge. I’m confident that pro se hated the PTO for the remainder of his life. Some can be helped. Some cannot. Most, I think, are helped.

            1. 6.1.2.1.1.1

              Sounds exactly like Steve Jobs.

          2. 6.1.2.1.2

            I wasn’t recommending that we treat pro-se inventors differently than represented inventors.

            I was merely suggesting that we treat them respectfully. Pointing out flaws in the claims can be done without denigrating comments such as the above.

  4. 5

    Haven’t these pages reported on a decision wherein the court indicated that had the inventor disclosed and claimed an new deck of cards, he may have received a valid patent? It seems to me a new phonetic symbol table is at least as “useful” as a new deck of cards.

    Sure, these claims could have and should have been “scrivened” into a method of representing English speech or some such. Apparently, the recited lists are what saved the claims in the example provided at the end of the article.

    As to : Is this the type of thing (not idea) that the patent law should cover…Do we want to promote progress in the phonetics art? I don’t see why not.

    1. 5.1

      Is this the type of thing (not idea) that the patent law should cover…Do we want to promote progress in the phonetics art?

      A yes to the second question is the barest possible beginning towards arriving at an answer to the first question.

      Maybe ponder this question: is there any “art” in which we (“as a society”) do not want to “promote progress” in (whatever “progress” might mean in the context of that “art”)? If the answer to the question is generally “no” perhaps it’s not a very useful question in the first place.

      1. 5.1.1

        The fact that you don’t like the implication of the answer does not mean that the question is not useful.

        1. 5.1.1.1

          Actually with Malcolm, there may well likely be an inverse relationship.

          Leastwise with things that actually pertain to patents.

    2. 5.2

      the court indicated that had the inventor disclosed and claimed a new deck of cards, he may have received a valid patent

      I just invented a new deck of cards. Ten new decks, in fact. Each one suitable for a slightly different game! So much entertainment.

      If only we had the good sense to loosen the restrictions on what is patentable, imagine all the incredible progress in fun that could be promoted!

      1. 5.2.1

        Agreed. Except the Court has indicated that new decks of cards are eligible already.

  5. 4

    Is there a way for Wang to turn this case around by amending the claims so that they recite a particular method.

    That’s easy. “A method of communicating using a phonetic system, wherein said phonetic system is characterized by y@dda y@dda y@dda …”

    Such a method should still be ineligible if the standard 101 analysis is followed.

    As for this: Linguists have developed a phonetic pronunciation guides, but those use quirky non-english letters.

    A zillion “non-linguists” have developed phonetic systems that use non-English letters. Most of Wang’s system seems incredibly obvious. As for any allegedly “non-obvious parts”, it’s a bit of a mystery why they weren’t claimed separately … until we stop and consider what that claim would like and how it would likely be treated by the PTO.

    1. 4.1

      Oops, I made a typo. Should have said: A zillion “non-linguists” have developed phonetic systems that use English letters.

  6. 3

    Yes to the Question Presented, given the right examiner. Perhaps it could have been claimed as a “method of computerized encription of standard English words into words containing vowel phonetic symbols comprising standard English alphabet single and dual alphabet letters as shown in Table 1?” [The fact that no actual software would be disclosed has not stopped numerous other applicants, if there would be at least a mention of a conventional computer.]
    English certainly has massively irregularly non-phonetic spelling compared to many other languges, and that is a hinderence to its now international teaching and use. As I recall, George Bernard Shaw and others in their wills left money for the propogation of phonetic English spelling, but it made little progress.

    1. 3.1

      “given the right examiner” he could get a NoA with no amendments.

    2. 3.2

      Forgot to mention the obvious – that the first mistake was in calling what what being claimed a “system,” which does not fit any 101 catagory.

  7. 2

    This one was too easy and not Rule 36’ed for the sole reason it was a pro se appeal. The noise about “abstract idea” is mere dicta because the court found that the invention claimed was outside the language of Section 101.

  8. 1

    Reminds me of certain claims that Morse did obtain…

    As to “concrete physical form,” In re Nuitjen is controlling law – no matter how offensive that is to those who understand reality (and can look up into a clear night sky to see evidence of “non-physical” and “transient” manufactures of nature at work). It’s almost as if the wave/particle duality of nature is made not to exist….

    1. 1.1

      Claim 6, I believe (which survived Supreme Court review)…

      1. 1.1.1

        I am surprised that the person posting who has chosen the famous moniker has not shared this…

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