Software Patents before Diamond v. Diehr?

On the wikipedia entry on Software Patents there is a dispute regarding the standard story about software Patents. Most people will tell you that software was not patentable before Diamond v. Diehr (1981). However, some enterprising individuals have found some pre-1981 software patents, including this one for “Computer Data Read-In Control System” Filed in 1964 #3,316,539. The kicker I believe, is that most if not all of these patents include a clear hardware component. On the other hand one could cite Gottschalk v. Benson, 409 U.S. 63 (1972) where the court rejected the patentability of a program that converted a Binary Coded decimal numbers into pure binary numbers. I think rather than being explicitly disallowed, patents for software were simply a non-issue (given the paucity of cases and patent applications on the subject) that was largely unconsidered and therefore unresolved before the Court issued its ruling in Diamond.


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