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AT&T Corp. v. Excel Communications, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
172 F.3d 1352 (1999)


Facts

In July 1994, AT&T Corp. (AT&T) (plaintiff) was issued a patent for a message-record system that would aid long-distance carriers in establishing differential billing for customers based on the identity of the long-distance service provider used. The patent included claims for a process that involved using a mathematical formula and caller information to calculate different billing rates. In 1996, AT&T brought a patent infringement suit against Excel Communications, Inc. (Excel) (defendant). The district court held that several of the claims included in AT&T’s patent simply recited a mathematical formula and were thus invalid as unpatentable subject matter within the recognized exception for laws of nature. AT&T argues that the claims in its patent are valid subject matter under the Patent Act.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Plager, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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