US Board of Appeals (BPAI) Rejects Cryptographic Method as Abstract Idea

Signature of Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) In early October 2010, the US Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) issued three interesting decisions relating to computer-implemented inventions in the US, namely (i.) Ex parte MacKenzie, App. No. 10/183,900, (ii.) Ex parte Kelkar, App. No. 10/629,448, and Ex parte Venkata, App. No. 11/182934. A brief overview of these opinions can be found on Dennis Crouch’s Patently-O blog. In Ex parte MacKenzie (Appeal No. 2009-7332), the applicant presented independent method claims 1 and 9 and corresponding independent apparatus claims 17 and 18. Theses claims sought protection for a technique for sharing the DSA signature function, so that two parties can efficiently generate a DSA signature with respect to a given public key but neither can alone. The Board rejected the claims under 35 U.S.C. § 101, since the method was directed to an abstract idea, as affirmed by the US Supreme Court in Bilski v. Kappos, and remanded the case to the examiner for further prosecution. Rejected claim 1 reads as follows:
1 ...
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