MR. HORN;:  I'm representing Allen-Bradley this morning, sir. 
Good morning, my name is John Horn.  I'm Patent Counsel for
Allen-Bradley Company, which is a manufacturer of industrial
automation equipment, such as programmable logic controllers
and including an increasing number of software products.
Allen-Bradley has observed a strong trend in the industrial
control business towards replacing functions accomplished by
hardware with software.  Industrial control hardware and
industrial control software can and frequently do have very
similar functionalities.
Consequently, patent claims can closely correspond between
hardware and software based inventions.  In view of the above,
we believe new software based functions should be patentable
in the same way as new hardware based inventions are
However, we also believe that it is important that patent
examiners should look to hardware based prior art and that
previously existing hardware based functionality should always
be viewed as highly relevant to the allowability of software
based claims.  Novelty should it not be predicated on the
coding of functions previously implemented in hardware.
Although new functions which may be enabled by software's
special capabilities should be patentable when they rise to
the level of being novel and non-obvious improvements on
previous hardware based techniques.
It appears to us that inventions and patent claims focusing on
the software art form itself, such as programming techniques,
may at least temporarily require some new procedures for
identifying prior art.  Allen-Bradley supports the idea of
establishing new mechanisms for identifying prior art
pertinent to software inventions in order to assist in getting
the best prior art into the hands of the examining corps.
However, Allen-Bradley also believes that software inventions
should be treated in like fashion to inventions in other
technological fields and higher standards for patentability of
software inventions should not be adopted.  Software would
appear to us to be a new and distinct type of technological
art form.  As such, it may have some growing pains at the
Patent Office and elsewhere.
Nevertheless, software inventions need protection to promote
creativity and protect the investments of innovative
developers.  Consequently, we would like to encourage the
Patent Office as well to recognize software as independently
capable of having patentable elements, such as specialized
data structures, when such elements are novel and non-obvious.
Separately, Allen-Bradley does not believe computer program
code listings are an effective way to describe software
inventions.  In general, such listings we have found to be
arcane and too difficult to decipher to enable most software
inventions to be understood and used.
Thank you.  Allen-Bradley looks forward to working with the
Patent Office in trying to improve the patenting process.
COMMISSIONER LEHMAN;:  Thank you very much, Mr. Horn.
Next, I'd like to call forward Mr. Richard Nydegger for the
Digital Equipment Corporation.  He's going to be replacing Ron
Ryland who was scheduled to represent Digital this morning. 
You need to correct your representational status here, Mr.
MR. NYDEGGER;:  Yes, I will.  Thank you.
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