DIAMOND v. DIEHR. Opinion of the Court. JusTICE REHNQUIST deliVered the opinion of the Court. We granted certiorari to determine. Citation. Diamond v. Diehr, U.S. , S. Ct. , 67 L. Ed. 2d , U.S. LEXIS 73, U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 1, 49 U.S.L.W. (U.S. Mar. 3, ). Title: U.S. Reports: Diamond v. Diehr, U.S. (). Contributor Names: Rehnquist, William H. (Judge): Supreme Court of the United States (Author).

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The application is then sent to an “examining group” specializing in the subject matter of that application. He discovered that an apparent accident had drastically changed — and improved — the rubber latex. In all claims the key operation is molding, not calculating.

A new process is usually the result of discovery; a machine, of invention. The inventors used it to refine a physical step in the process in a manner analogous to the manner in which mathematics and physical laws diamknd employed in the inventions in Mackay Radio n25 and Eibel Process Co.

How to make a good contribution. The two joint patents of Davis and Gould cited by the examiner both stemming from a single original application called for temperature probes which would damage applicants’ precision products.

How unavoidable temperature variations affect cure In all processes involving cure of synthetic rubber, the cure time must be determined. The case does present eleven claims in a patent application. The Board has repeatedly found computer programs where none existed.

The claims here are directed ddiamond a process for molding and curing synthetic rubber, not to the production of a number followed diamons a “post-solution” step, as in Flook.

Does a claim to a novel physical and chemical process for molding precision synthetic rubber products — a process normally considered to be patentable subject matter within the terms of 35 U. However, because the Solicitor’s brief has raised the issues of novelty and obviousness, a few additional points should be discussed. The method of claim 1 including providing the computer with a mold temperature set point for each mold and a constant of proportionality with which a range of permissible mold temperature variation may be calculated, calculating at frequent periodic intervals in the computer the range of mold temperature variations from the set point, comparing at frequent periodic intervals in diwmond computer the range of mold temperatures and the actual temperature, and controlling the mold heater to keep the mold temperature within the calculated range of the set point.


This is particularly true in a process claim, because a new combination of steps in a process may be patentable even though all the constituents of the combination were well known and in common dier before the combination was made.

The invention is actually used by Federal-Mogul Corporation in its own plants to manufacture substantially all of its synthetic rubber oil seals and O-rings.

Sherwood, ; In re Phillips, F. Apparently, once a case arrives there, it is a computer case.


The examiner made a final rejection in the second application, S. The court would reaffirm this proposition consistently thereafter. The first step is to determine whether the claims involve mathematical calculations. To illustrate their point, the authors redrafted the Diehr and Lutton claims into the format employed in the Flook application:.

The CCPA has conscientiously followed this Court’s didhr in patent cases involving computer-related claims and technology. He described that standard as “a major and radical shift in this area of the law. The process uses a mold for precisely shaping the uncured material under heat and pressure and then curing the synthetic rubber in the mold, so that the product will retain its shape and be functionally operative after the molding is completed.

The improved method of the present invention enables the digital f to aid the control of one or numerous presses simultaneously, whereas the limited purpose block diagram apparatus of the Smith reference is clearly limited to only one press. This precise procedure, of course, was later employed by this Court in Parker v.

II Last Term, in Diamond v. This chemical technology is what is involved in the claimed process. Are all inventions that involve a computer or a computer program unpatentable per se? The Board of Appeals also incorrectly held that each element of the claims was “conventional” except for the calculation steps — and did not seem to notice that applicants had forthrightly stated that the Arrhenius equation was very old!

However, a careful review of Neugroschl establishes that the computer disclosed therein provides no control of the molding press whatsoever.

The patent application did not “explain how to select the approximate margin of safety, the weighing factor, or any of the other variables. In both Benson and Difhr, the parties apparently agreed that the inventor’s discovery was properly regarded as an algorithm; the holding that an viamond was a “law of nature” that could not be Page U. And, as stated above, Neugroschl has no real pertinence to any of the claims because it is not a computer control invention.


Furthermore, the present invention clearly defines a novel and unobvious method calling for steps in addition to calculation with an algorithm. The apparatus claim was rejected essentially because, when the mathematical principle was assumed to be within the prior art, the claim disclosed no invention entitled to patent protection.

This assumption was expressly rejected in Flook: The rule that the discovery of a law of nature cannot be patented rests not on the notion that natural phenomena are not processes, but rather on the more fundamental understanding that they are not the kind of ‘discoveries’ that the statute was enacted to protect.

The chemistry and production techniques are somewhat different with many synthetic rubbers, involving in many instances a phenomenon known as “cross-linking”, in which chains of one chemical unit join together chains of a second chemical unit.

Finally, it is stated in the “Revision Notes”: This standard effectively disposed of any vestiges of the mental steps doctrine remaining. Such has been held to be non-statutory subject matter in Gottschalk v.


The seals made by this invention prevent leakage of oil from engines, transmissions, axles, and bearings. Nonetheless, uncontrolled variables present in the actual process make it difficult or impossible to postulate a single temperature from which such computations would produce a satisfactory result. Before this Court decided Flook, however, the lower court developed a two-step procedure for analyzing program-related inventions in light of Benson. The applications that resulted in the Gould and Davis U.

A process is a mode of treatment of certain materials to produce a given result. Notice a step such as “constantly determining the temperature Dizmond of the mold at a location closely adjacent diamod the mold cavity in the press during molding” Claims 1 and 7; similar wording applies to all claims. A defined process or set of rules that leads [ sic ] and assures development of a desired output from a given input.

Nonetheless, according to the respondents, the industry has not been able to obtain uniformly accurate cures, because the temperature of the molding press could not be precisely measured, thus making it difficult to do the necessary computations to determine cure time.