Section 101 Examples
Example 20: Robotic Arm Assembly

This is an example provided by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for analyzing Section 101 patent subject matter eligibility issues. The example comes from the Computer Based Training (CBT) Materials provided by the USPTO in February 2015. Both examples 19 and 20 come from these materials, and are found in both the PDF version of the slides and the automated CBT provided by the USPTO. The numbering of these examples is taken from Appendix 2 of the July 2015 Update on Subject Matter Eligibility.

The index for all of the examples provided by the Patent and Trademark Office is found on BitLaw's Section 101 Index.

Example 20: Robotic Arm Assembly

For purposes of efficient examination, a streamlined analysis can be used for claims that clearly do not seek to tie up any judicial exception

  • Such claims may recite an exception, but their eligibility will be self-evident, so no detailed analysis is needed
  • If there is doubt as to whether the claim seeks coverage for a judicial exception itself, perform a full analysis
See Examples 1 and 2 that follow

2. A robotic arm assembly comprising:
a robotic arm having an end effector that is capable of movement along a predetermined motion path,
a sensor that obtains movement information about the end effector, and
a control system that uses the movement information from the sensor to adjust the velocity of the end effector in order to achieve a smooth motion along the predetermined motion path.

  • The claim operates using certain mathematical relationships, e.g., velocity is a relationship between the position of an object with respect to time.
  • However, the claim clearly does not seek to tie up these mathematical relationships. For example, others are clearly free to use velocity in other applications such as in a radar gun.

The claim qualifies as eligible subject matter without a full analysis.