Apparently the BPAI is taking a cue from the Federal Circuit in In re Comiskey, which also refused to reach the prior art grounds of rejection "because we conclude that many of the claims are 'barred at the threshold by § 101'."
I'm really hoping this isn't the start of a trend. The main reason I appeal is to get someone from outside the Examiner corp to decide on the prior art rejection, and vacate-plus-remand puts yet another roadblock in front of me. The thought of having to spend another 12+ months in the cycle of Office Action, Brief, Answer, Reply, wait-for-BPAI decision is infuriating.
Now, perhaps there really *is* no point in deciding on the prior art grounds if the claim has fatal problems under § 101. I'm not sure the vacated Ex parte Lancefield case is fixable by a minor amendment. Here's the only independent claim in the case:
1. A computer system implementing an object oriented data processing schema configured to store objects and to store definitions of relations between the objects, the system being configured so as to support definitions of relationships of two types, the two types including:As long as the BPAI limits its vacating to these types of claims, I won't be too upset.
a first type of relationship whereby one object in a hierarchy related to another object by a relationship of the first type is deemed to belong to a set defined by the other object; and
a second type of relationship distinct from the first type of relationship and whereby a child object related to a parent object by a relationship of the second type is deemed to inherit characteristics of the parent object and, to an extent specified in the relationship of the second type, a proportion of a characteristic of a further object related to the said parent object by a relationship of the first type:
whereby the system uses the schema to process the objects in accordance with the defined relationships.