I am motivated to understand the abstract idea because I need to understand what (if any) of my claims may be labelled with "abstract idea" and how to word my claims to minimize the probability of such a label.

In my quest to understand the "abstract idea", within the context of USPTO examinations, I found the USPTO guidance: "Identifying Abstract Ideas". I assume that the guidance is a list of cases with claims labeled "abstract ideas".

The invention does have a physical electronic embodiment, however, because software, data-collection, electronic measurement and algorithm processing are involved, I think the claims need to be carefully worded so as to avoid the label?

As I look at the USPTO guidance, I am beginning to wonder if my invention falls into the category should I avoid wording found in that subsection. For example:

  • Collecting information, analyzing it, and displaying certain results of the collection and analysis (Electric Power Group)
  • Parsing and comparing data (Berkheimer)
  • Measuring delivery of real-time information for commercial purposes (Two-Way Media ‘686 patent)

should be avoided / used sparingly so as to minimize the likelihood of a claim being labeled "abstract idea"? Perhaps this a context sensitive or conditional 'profanity'?

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    Imho it's more about the content than about the wording. Have you tried looking at the content instead of the superficial wording?
    – user18033
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 6:05
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    @gatorbak. You can study application no. 14/378346 from public pair of USPTO portal.uspto.gov/pair/PublicPair. It may be useful to you. My application faced the riddle called abstract idea under judicial exception. I concentrated on precedence that were allowed and got notice of allowance on 28 June, 2018 pro se. Thanks to the moderators of this blog site for useful inputs, I could be successful. Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 5:36

1 Answer 1


The Quick Reference Sheet that you linked is one of the most informative guide we have from USPTO in helping us(who are not lawyers) to identify abstract ideas.

Note that while the term "abstract idea" falls under judicial exception under U.S. Patent Law, "the courts have declined to define abstract ideas. Instead, they have often identified abstract ideas by referring to earlier precedent...", hence the Quick Reference Sheet.

To summarize, the question of whether a concept is an "abstract idea" is a legal determination that can only be made in court.

  • Good answer. My rule of thumb is does the claim describe not just what is done, but how. Its the how that makes it concrete and non-abstract (in my humble opinion).
    – Eric S
    Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 23:54

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