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Research Corporation Technologies Inc. v. Microsoft Corp.

This decision is an old one, but it is included in the USPTO's list of decisions with subject matter eligible claims. The court found that claims 1 and 2 of the 5,111,310 patent were patentable subject matter.

"With that guidance, this court also will not presume to define “abstract” beyond the recognition that this disqualifying characteristic should exhibit itself so manifestly as to override the broad statutory categories of eligible subject matter and the statutory context that directs primary attention on the patentability criteria of the rest of the Patent Act. In that context, this court perceives nothing abstract in the subject matter of the processes claimed in the ′310 and ′228 patents. The ′310 and ′228 patents claim methods (statutory “processes”) for rendering a halftone image of a digital image by comparing, pixel by pixel, the digital image against a blue noise mask."


1. A method for the halftoning of gray scale images by utilizing a pixel-by-pixel comparison of the image against a blue noise mask in which the blue noise mask is comprised of a random nondeterministic, non-white noise single valued function which is designed to produce visually pleasing dot profiles when thresholded at any level of said gray scale images.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein said blue noise mask is used to halftone a color image.

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