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Frequently Asked Questions

How did the case of In re Nuijten affect the patentability of software programs?

The case of In re Nuijten had a significant impact on the patentability of software programs. Prior to this case, software programs could be patented when stored on a tangible medium, as per the Beauregard claim. However, the Federal Circuit's decision in In re Nuijten stated that transitory propagating signals were not patent-eligible, as they did not fall within the statutory categories of patent-eligibility: process, machine, manufacture, or composition. This decision undermined the Beauregard claims, which had previously allowed software programs to be patented when stored on a tangible medium. The In re Nuijten decision led to the introduction of the term "non-transitory" in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) training material. This term refers to computer-readable media (CRM) that stores data for short periods or in the presence of power. Following the In re Nuijten decision, David Kappos, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, advised patent applicants to direct all software claims to non-transitory computer-readable media to avoid the issues raised by the In re Nuijten case.

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