A
As to the first argument, Aristocrat contends that the language of claim 1 referring to “the game control means being arranged to pay a prize when a predetermined combination of symbols is displayed in a predetermined arrangement of symbol positions selected by a player” implicitly discloses an algorithm for the microprocessor. That is, when the winning combination of symbols is displayed, the program should pay a prize. But that language simply describes the function to be performed, not the algorithm by which it is performed. Aristocrat’s real point is that devising an algorithm to perform that function would be within the capability of one of skill in the art, and therefore it was not necessary for the patent to designate any particular algorithm to perform the claimed function. As we have noted above, however, that argument is contrary to this court’s law.
Aristocrat also points to language in claim 1 that, according to Aristocrat, “sets forth the mathematical equation that describes the result of practicing the third function.” The language in question recites “defining a set of predetermined arrangements for a current game comprising each possible combination of the symbol position selected by the player which have one and only one symbol position in each column of the display means.” The problem with Aristocrat’s argument is underscored by Aristocrat’s very characterization of the role of the equation: It describes the result of practicing the third function. That is, the equation is not an algorithm that describes how the function is performed, but is merely a mathematical expression that describes the outcome of performing the function. To be sure, as Aristocrat argues, the equation “restricts ‘appropriate programming’ to algorithms which result in the specified number of winning opportunities.” But that argument simply concedes that the equation describes an outcome, not a means for achieving that outcome. The equation thus does not disclose the structure of the claimed device, but is only another way of describing the claimed function.
Finally, Aristocrat contends that “the written description delineates what constitutes ‘appropriate programming’ through the disclosed embodiments of the invention.” Again, however, the description of the embodiments is simply a description of the outcome of the claimed functions, not a description of the structure, i.e., the computer programmed to execute a particular algorithm.
In making this argument, Aristocrat relies on Figure 1 and Table 1 from the patent, which provide examples of how player selections translate to possible winning combinations:
Two other pairs of figures and tables, Figures 3 and 4, and Tables 2 and 3, offer similar examples. The corresponding portion of the written description contains mathematical descriptions of how many winning combinations would be produced. ’102 patent, col. 3, line 54, through col. 5, line 21. Aristocrat refers to these examples as “algorithms.” The figures, tables, and related discussion, however, are not algorithms. They are simply examples of the results of the operation of an unspecified algorithm. Like the mathematical equation set forth in claim 1, these combinations of figures and tables are, at best, a description of the claimed function of the meansplusfunction claim.
Aristocrat has elected to claim using section 112 paragraph 6 and therefore must disclose corresponding structure. It has disclosed, at most, pictoral and mathematical ways of describing the claimed function of the game control means. That is not enough to transform the disclosure of a generalpurpose microprocessor into the disclosure of sufficient structure to satisfy section 112 paragraph 6.
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