General. The following hypothetical examples teach this concept:
Hypothetical Example No. 1. James invents a scheme for selling hamburgers that involves the steps of building burger joints, cooking the burgers with solar radiation and giving every third burger away. The USPTO rejects claims to the abstract idea of the scheme but allows claims to his novel cooking apparatus.
Hypothetical Example No. 2. Sarah invents a method of selecting stock that maximizes its future value. The method is implemented in her head. The USPTO denies Sarah a patent on the method.
Hypothetical Example No. 3. Bessie invents a novel game that could also be an actual business. The USPTO allows claims to the game apparatus and to the method of using it but rejects claims to practicing the game or business in the abstract.
Patents. The following examples from actual issued U.S. patents teach this concept:
U.S. Patent No. 5,193,056 Signature Financial Services' data processing system for hub and spoke financial services configuration was made famous by the U.S. Supreme Court's State Street decision.
U.S. Patent No. 5,333,184 AT&T's patent on call message recording for telephone systems.
U.S. Patent No. 5,960,411 Amazon.com's method and system for placing a purchase order via a communications network.
Case Law. The following examples from U.S. case law teach this concept:
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