Patent #6,128,415 claims were reversed based on 'the claim is directed to an abstract idea' Example 5. Digital Image Processing (pp 13) provides a ineligible patent claim:

A method of generating a device profile that describes properties of a device in a digital image reproduction system for capturing, transforming or rendering an image, said method comprising:

  • generating first data for describing a device dependent transformation of color information content of the image to a device independent color space through use of measured chromatic stimuli and device response characteristic functions;

  • generating second data for describing a device dependent transformation of spatial information content of the image in said device independent color space through use of spatial stimuli and device response characteristic functions; and

  • combining said first and second data into the device profile.

As engineer, I am struggling to understand the notion of 'the claim is directed to an abstract idea'. Engineers model and characterize systems (in the example: system characterization is labeled 'device profile') with mathematics, so it is important to understand the notion from a 101 patentability standpoint. Because modern engineering is dependent upon measurement and mathematical modeling, I am concerned that any claim containing a mathematic operations creates a serious vulnerability in the future: be it with the examiner or in a court

I was surprised that Analysis deemed the mathematical characterization of a system through defined and limited measurements would be deemed 'directed to an abstract idea'. I suspect that my surprise is caused by my inability to answer the question:

  • What is the thought process for constructing a litmus test (question) for an 'abstract idea'?

The example's image processing system is not stochastic and stationary. On the other hand: a system-of-interest performs a periodic system characterization of stochastic and non-stationary systems ('moving targets'): forming a dependent claim. The periodic system characterizations provides some of the high-fidelity inputs to a process, which produces high-value decision support.

Although the system-characterization claim is an improvement to the prior-art, it seems that it is relegated to a claims ineligible analysis:

The claim recites a method of generating first data and second data using mathematical techniques and combining the first and second data into a device profile. In other words, the claimed method simply describes the concept of gathering and combining data by reciting steps of organizing information through mathematical relationships. The gathering and combining merely employs mathematical relationships to manipulate existing information to generate additional information in the form of a ‘device profile,’ without limit to any use of the device profile. This idea is similar to the basic concept of manipulating information using mathematical relationships (e.g., converting numerical representation in Benson), which has been found by the courts to be an abstract idea. Therefore, the claim is directed to an abstract idea (Step 2A: YES).

  • Is there any mode where system characterization is not 'directed to an abstract idea'?
  • What does 'without limit to any use of the device profile' mean?

How would one author a system-characterization dependent claim a 'building block'? as described by the court in Alice:

Accordingly, in applying the §101 exception, we must distinguish between patents that claim the “‘buildin[g] block[s]'” of human ingenuity and those that integrate the building blocks into something more, Mayo, 566 U. S., at _ (slip op., at 20), thereby “transform[ing]” them into a patent-eligible invention, id., at _ (slip op., at 3). The former “would risk disproportionately tying up the use of the underlying” ideas, id., at ___ (slip op., at 4), and are therefore ineligible for patent protection. The latter pose no comparable risk of pre-emption, and therefore remain eligible for the monopoly granted under our patent laws.

  • If a claim comprises the use of mathematics: is it always labeled a 'judicially recognized exception' as shown in the diagram:

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