Dann v. Johnston (425 U.S. 219, 1976 Mar 31)

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[OBVIOUS] {1} Respondent makes much of his system's ability to allow "a large number of small users to get the benefit of large-scale electronic computer equipment and still continue to use their individual ledger format and bookkeeping methods." Brief for Respondent 65. It may be that that ability is not possessed to the same extent either by existing machine systems in the banking industry or by the Dirks system.3 But the mere existence of differences between the prior art and an invention does not establish the invention's nonobviousness. The gap between the prior art and respondent's system is simply not so great as to render the system nonobvious to one reasonably skilled in the art.

{2} In Benson, the respondent sought to patent as a "new and useful process," 35 U.S.C. Section 101, "a method of programming a general-purpose digital computer to convert signals from binary-coded decimal form into pure binary form." 409 U.S., at 65. As we observed: "The claims were not limited to any particular art or technology, to any particular apparatus or machinery, or to any particular end use." Id., at 64. Our limited holding, id., at 71, was that respondent's method was not a patentable "process" as that term is defined in 35 U.S.C. Section 100 (b).


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