>>> "To accept the analysis proffered by the petitioner would, if carried to its extreme, make all inventions unpatentable because all inventions can be reduced to underlying principles of nature which, once known, make their implementation obvious"
>> Simply put, the court was wrong. They created a straw-man argument--that knowledge of the underlying principles makes all inventions obvious--and based their conclusion on that rather than the actual argument.
> I think you're making a strawman from my limited quote--I apologize if I encouraged that.
Are you saying that you misquoted the court? If not, their words are fairly clear, and stand on their own. The phrase "if carried to its extreme" alone is a clear sign that what follows is likely to be a straw-man argument.
> ... they start by saying 'well, you can't argue that because its reduceable to natural law it's not patentable'
Which is also wrong. If a patent can be reduced to nothing more than natural law then it *shouldn't* be granted. Natural law, like math, is one of the excluded subject matters. The laws themselves, like all mathematical formulas and algorithms, are never non-obvious or novel; they pre-exist the patent, and should be considered public knowledge from the start. The patent can only be justified on the basis of the new knowledge it discloses, i.e. a novel and non-obvious *application*.
Given any algorithm, the evaluation of said algorithm "on a computer" may be a novel application, but is never non-obvious. Evaluating algorithms--*any* algorithms--is the entire point of a computer. For that reason alone, software patents (with or without "on a computer") should never be granted. They disclose nothing which was not perfectly obvious before.