Home> Announcements> International topics> Trilateral Cooperation (JPOEPOUSPTO)> PROJECT24.2 report (english version)> Appendix2.1Answers from the three Offices
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CASE 1, PRIOR ART 1 [3] CLAIM 3 


CLAIM INTERPRETATION 
1 (The claim was literally interpreted; i.e. all claim limitations were taken into account.) 
1 (The claim was literally interpreted; i.e. all claim limitations were taken into account.) 
1 (The claim was literally interpreted; i.e. all claim limitations were taken into account.) 
STATUTORY 
Yes 
Yes 
Yes The claim directly describes utilizing point sequence connecting curve to three dimensional machining. Moreover, the word "machining" implies the presence of a machine tool. Therefore, the solution is information processing with respect to the control for hardware resources. 
NOVELTY, 
NOVELTY: Yes Novelty: As to prior art No.1, the mere disclosure of the induction equation of a Ferguson curve segment without any other teaching or showing of the knowledge of the skill in the art would not be a sufficient basis for rejecting the claim, since the reference is nonenabling, as explained in the response to claim 1. Accordingly, the invention claimed in claim 3 would be novel. Obviousness : According to MPEP 2144.03, "[t]he rationale supporting an obviousness rejection may be based on common knowledge in the art or 'wellknown' prior art ... [and] [t]he examiner may take official notice of facts outside of the record which are capable of instant and unquestionable demonstration as being 'wellknown' in the art." With respect to prior art No.1, Official notice would be taken that the "Hermite basis matrix" and the "Hermite geometry vector", as shown as components of the Ferguson induction equation, were well known methods for determining a cubic polynomial curve segment ( as could be evidenced by page 483 of the textbook Computer Graphics : Principles and Practice", 1990 (AddisonWesley Publishing Co., Inc.)). Applicant's disclosure at page 6 further bolsters the aspect that the Ferguson curve segment is determined by the induction equation given provided one has values for the position vectors Pi1,Pi at the points Pi1,Pi and tangent vectors Ti1,Ti. Missing from prior art No.1 basic reference are the steps of determining a circular arc and determining the tangent vectors contacting the circular arc. 
NOVELTY: Yes PA#1 discloses at most spline interpolation. 
NOVELTY: Yes INVENTIVE STEP: Yes 

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CASE 1, PRIOR ART 1 


CLAIM INTERPRETATION 
3 (statement of intended use in the preamble was neglected ("for machining a three dimensional curved surface") ) 
4 (The claim was not literally interpreted for the lack of clarity.) It is assumed that the person skilled in the art would assume that as a final step the machining of the threedimensional curved surface has to be done according to the point sequence connecting curve. Therefore the claim is interpreted as if it included said machining step (see claim 3). 
1 (The claim was literally interpreted; i.e. all claim limitations were taken into account.) 
STATUTORY 
No 
Yes See[3] 
Yes See[3] 
NOVELTY, 
NOVELTY: Yes Novelty: As to prior art No.1, the mere disclosure of the induction equation of a Ferguson curve segment without any other teaching or showing of the knowledge of the skill in the art would not be a sufficient basis for rejecting the claim, since the reference is nonenabling, as explained in the response to claim 1. Accordingly, the invention claimed in claim 4 would be novel. Obviousness : According to MPEP 2144.03, "[t]he rationale supporting an obviousness rejection may be based on common knowledge in the art or 'wellknown' prior art ... [and] [t]he examiner may take official notice of facts outside of the record which are capable of instant and unquestionable demonstration as being 'wellknown' in the art." With respect to prior art No.1, Official notice would be taken that the "Hermite basis matrix" and the "Hermite geometry vector", as shown as components of the Ferguson induction equation, were well known methods for determining a cubic polynomial curve segment ( as could be evidenced by page 483 of the textbook Computer Graphics : Principles and Practice", 1990 (AddisonWesley Publishing Co., Inc.)). Applicant's disclosure at page 6 further bolsters the aspect that the Ferguson curve segment is determined by the induction equation given provided one has values for the position vectors Pi1,Pi at the points Pi1,Pi and tangent vectors Ti1,Ti. Missing from prior art No.1 basic reference are the steps of determining a circular arc and determining the tangent vectors contacting the circular arc 
NOVELTY: Yes PA#1 discloses at most spline interpolation. 
Novelty Inventive step 

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CASE 1, PRIOR ART 1 [5] CLAIM 5 


CLAIM INTERPRETATION 
1 (The claim was literally interpreted; i.e. all claim limitations were taken into account.) 
1 (The claim was literally interpreted; i.e. all claim limitations were taken into account.) 
4 (The claim was not literally interpreted for the lack of clarity.) It is not clear whether generated curve is displayed, or threedimensional curved surface is displayed The claim cites, however, the step of "displaying the threedimensional curved surface according to the point sequence connecting curve." Therefore, the claim was interpreted as displaying threedimensional curved surface. 
STATUTORY 
No Since the result displayed is merely the display of a curved surface without a practical application being claimed and since the operation is merely detecting a circular arc passing through a series of points, the claim is not enough to pass muster under 35 U.S.C. 101. 
Yes 
No 
NOVELTY, 
NOVELTY: No Novelty: As to prior art No.1, the mere disclosure of the induction equation of a Ferguson curve segment without any other teaching or showing of the knowledge of the skill in the art would not be a sufficient basis for rejecting the claim, since the reference is nonenabling, as explained in the response to claim 1. Accordingly, the invention claimed in claim 5 would be novel. Obviousness : According to MPEP 2144.03, "[t]he rationale supporting an obviousness rejection may be based on common knowledge in the art or 'wellknown' prior art ...[and][t]he examiner may take official notice of facts outside of the record which are capable of instant and unquestionable demonstration as being 'wellknown' in the art." With respect to prior art No.1, Official notice would be taken that the "Hermite basis matrix" and the "Hermite geometry vector", as shown as components of the Ferguson induction equation, were well known methods for determining a cubic polynomial curve segment (as could be evidenced by page 483 of the textbook Computer Graphics: Principles and practice", 1990 (AddisonWesley publishing Co.,Inc.)). Applicant's disclosure at page 6 further bolsters the aspect that the Ferguson curve segment is determined by the induction equation given provided one has values for the position vectors Pi1,Pi at the points Pi1,Pi and tangent vectors Ti1,Ti. Missing from prior art No.1 basic reference are the steps of determining a circular arc determining the tangent vectors contacting the circular arc. 
NOVELTY: Yes PA#1 discloses at most spline interpolation. 
NOVELTY INVENTIVE STEP 

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CASE 1, PRIOR ART 1 [6] CLAIM 6 


CLAIM INTERPRETATION 
3 (Statement of "intended use" in the preamble was neglected.) The statement of intended use in the preamble concerning the intended use in a system comprising a keyboard for data input, a processor, a ROM for storing a control program, a RAM, a working memory, an output unit for outputting generated curved surface data to an external storage medium, an address bus and a data bus were not give weight in view of the fact that applicant appears to be attempting to claim a control program per se. The claim would be subject to rejections under 35 U.S.C. 112 second paragraph as being indefinite in that it is uncertain whether the method is being claimed or the computer program per se is being claimed; i.e., it appears that applicant is merely reciting what apparatus the computer program is controlling. Applicant can clarify this by asserting that the applicant is claiming a control program stored in memory (ROM); rather than a control program comprising. 
Category 1 (The claim was literally interpreted; i.e. all claim limitations were taken into account.) 
Category 1 (The claim was literally interpreted; i.e. all claim limitations were taken into account.) 
STATUTORY 
No 
No 

NOVELTY, 
NOVELTY: Yes Novelty: As to prior art No.1, the mere disclosure of the induction equation of a Ferguson curve segment without any other teaching or showing of the knowledge of the skill in the art would not be a sufficient basis for rejecting the claim, since the reference is nonenabling, as explained in the response to claim 1. Accordingly, the invention claimed in claim 6 would be novel. Obviousness: According to MPEP 2144.03, "[t]he rationale supporting an obviousness rejection may be based on common knowledge in the art or 'wellknown' prior art ...[and] [t]he examiner may take official notice of facts outside of the record which are capable of instant and unquestionable demonstration as being 'wellknown' in the art." With respect to prior art No.1, Official notice would be taken that the "Hermite basis matrix" and the "Hermite geometry vector", as shown as components of the Ferguson induction equation, were well known methods for determining a cubic polynomial curve segment (as could be evidenced by page 483 of the textbook Computer Graphics: Principles and practice", 1990 (AddisonWesley publishing Co.,Inc.)). Applicant's disclosure at page 6 further bolsters the aspect that the Ferguson curve segment is determined by the induction equation given provided one has values for the position vectors Pi1,Pi at the points Pi1,Pi and tangent vectors Ti1,Ti. Missing from prior art No.1 basic reference are the steps of determining a circular arc determining the tangent vectors contacting the circular arc 
NOVELTY: Yes PA#1 discloses at most spline interpolation. 
NOVELTY: Yes NOVELTY INVENTIVE STEP 

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CASE 1 NOTES [7] CLAIM 1 


CLAIM INTERPRETATION 
See [1] 
See [1] 
See [1] 
STATUTORY 
See [1] 
See [1] 
See [1] 
NOVELTY, 
NOVELTY: Yes Missing from prior art No.1 basic reference are the steps of determining a circular arc and determining the tangent vectors contacting the circular arc. Prior art No. 2 "Isotropic FourPoint Interpolation", by James E. Midgley, June 8, 1979, Computer Graphics and Image Processing II, 192196 (1979), (hereinafter Midgley) teaches at page 193 the computation of a tangent at a particular center point by making a "tangent match a circle through that [point] and the two adjacent points." One of ordinary skill in the art would determine the values for the tangents at the various points using the teaching of Midgley in the Ferguson Induction Equation in order to determine a curved surface. Accordingly, claim 1 is rendered obvious by the combination of prior art Nos. 1+2. 
NOVELTY: Yes Starting from the general formula (3) which is based on displacements di, di+1, and di+2 with respect to the four neighbouring points (ri1, ri, ri+1, ri+2; see formulas (1), (2)), several assumptions are made in order to finally arrive at said formula (16), (steps a, b in claim); one assumption being that a circle is used to pass through three consecutive points ri1, ri, ri+1, in order to make the tangent in ri match that circle (see formulas (5) to (7)); the other assumption being that there is continuity of the tangent vector (see first half of page 193 including formula (4)), i.e. indirectly the tangent in ri+1 is calculated within said formula (based on a circle in the present interpolation via the coefficient of di+2; based on this formula (3) and said two assumptions a smooth curve between ri and ri+1 is found using the corresponding position vectors and indirectly also the tangent vectors as in step c; thus a point sequence connecting curve based on spline interpolation between every two adjacent consecutive points is determined (step d of claim). Therefore the subjectmatter of claim 1 is novel, since according to claim 1, the tangent vectors are determined explicitly and not within the algorithm. INVENTIVE STEP: No 
NOVELTY INVENTIVE STEP No: The prior art 1 discloses the step (c) and (d) of the claim. The prior art 2 discloses step (a) and (b) of the claim. Both prior art is in the art of interpolation. The effect of the claimed invention is derivable from the prior arts. 

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CASE 1 NOTES [8] CLAIM 2 


CLAIM INTERPRETATION 
See[2] 
See[2] 
See[2] 
STATUTORY 
See[2] 
Statutory subjectmatter: No 
See[2] 
NOVELTY, 
NOVELTY: Yes 
See[7] 
NOVELTY: Yes 

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CASE 1 [9] CLAIM 3 


CLAIM INTERPRETATION 
See[3] 
1 
1 
STATUTORY 
See[3] 
Statutory Subject Matter: Yes 
See[3] 
NOVELTY, 
NOVELTY: Yes 
NOVELTY: Yes 
NOVENTY INVENTIVE STEP 

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CASE 1 [10] CLAIM 4 


CLAIM INTERPRETATION 
See[4] 
4: 
1 
STATUTORY 
See[4] 
See[9] 
See[4] 
NOVELTY, 
NOVELTY: Yes 
See[9] 
NOVENTY INVENTIVE STEP 

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CASE 1 [11] CLAIM 5 


CLAIM INTERPRETATION 
See[5] 
1 
4 
STATUTORY 
See[5] 
 CPA: PA#2 
See[5] 
NOVELTY, 
NOVELTY: Yes 
For a skilled person who wants to display a threedimensional curved surface it is obvious to use the method disclosed in PA#2 (see [7] above) that can be applied in any dimension and shows the display of a twodimensional curve (fig. 1) together with said explicit tangent calculation and thus arrive at the method of the claim. 
NOVELTY INVENTIVE STEP 

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CASE 1 [12] CLAIM 6 


CLAIM INTERPRETATION 
See[6] 
1 
1 
STATUTORY 
See[6] 
See[6] 
See[6] 
NOVELTY, 
NOVELTY: Yes Missing from prior art No.1 basic reference are the steps of determining a circular arc determining the tangent vectors contacting the circular arc. Prior art No.2 "Isotropic FourPoint Interpolation", by James E. Midgley, June 8, 1979, Computer Graphics and Image Processing II, 192196 (1979), (hereinafter Midgley) teaches at page 193 the computation of a tangent at a particular center point by making a "tangent match a circle through that [point] and the two adjacent points." One of ordinary skill in the art would determine the values for the tangents at the various points using the teaching of Midgley in the Ferguson Induction Equation in order to determine a curved surface. Moreover, Midgley is found in a computer graphics magazine making its use with a computer obvious. Accordingly, claim 6 is rendered obvious by the combination of prior art Nos. 1+2. 
NOVELTY Yes: For a skilled person who wants to control a curve generating apparatus as set out in lines 14 of claim 6 which is a standard computer, it is obvious to use the method disclosed in PA#2 together with said explicit tagent calculation (see [7]) to control said curve generation. 
NOVELTY INVENTIVE STEP 

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CASE 2 CLAIM 1 


CLAIM INTERPRETATION 
Category 2  The claim was interpreted based on "means or step plus function" limitations corresponding to the specification pages indicated. Further, the claim was vague and indefinite under 35 U.S.C. 112, 2nd paragraph, with respect to (1) the difference or correspondence between "past time series data" and "historical data", (2) the condition precedent for "initial predicted data", (3) the condition precedent for "average past time series data", (4) the distinction (if any) between the "past time series data storage means" and the "time series data storage means", and (5) the distinction between "predictive data" and "predicted future data." 
1.1 Claim interpretation: 4 Owing to the abstract formulation, the description had to be consulted in order to interpret the claim. Page 2, last paragraph to page 4, 1st paragraph of the description offer adequate support for claim 1. Nevertheless, claim 1 is not considered to fulfil the clarity requirements of A.84 and R29 EPC for the following reasons: 1.1.1 1.1.2 For the purpose of answering the following questions, above interpretations will be taken into consideration. 
1 (The claim was literally interpreted; i.e. all claim limitations were taken into account.) 
STATUTORY 
Yes: 
No: 1.2.1 Prima facie, no subjectmatter explicitly stated under A. 52(2) EPC is claimed as such. 1.2.2 1.2.3 1.2.4 1.2.5 
Yes: Claim 1 has matters which suggest indirectly how the hardware resources of computer are utilized in processing. Therefore, the solution is information processing in which hardware resources are used. 
NOVELTY, 
The automatic predictor system hypothetical prior art includes a variable condition data storage means for storing condition data (10), past time series data storage means (11) and correction rule table storage means (15), and predictor means (3). As to the showing in the prior art of the "correction rules taking into consideration said variable condition data", note that "the correction rules are activated by information from the variable condition data 10 to correct the predictive value." Note further that the predictor means (3) is operatively associated with variable condition data storage means (1), past time series data storage means (11) and correction rule table storage means (15). Moreover, it appears that "the predictor (3) is ....supplied with the update or newly inputted contents of variable condition data 10...., time series data 11...., and correction rule table 15 and it performs calculation to predict future data." The "initial prediction" correlates to the first calculation of "predictive data ... from a series of past data by extrapolation." The correction correlates to the activation of the information from the variable condition data 10 to correct the predictive value. Although no storage means is shown or described other than the table shown in Figure 2 of the hypothetical prior art, this would have been inherent in that the predicted data must be stored in order to be manipulated and displayed as suggested by Figure 2 and described in the last paragraph of the prior art description. Accordingly, the invention of claim 1 is anticipated and rendered obvious. 
1.3 1.4 
NOVELTY: No INVENTIVE STEP: No 

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CASE 2 CLAIM 2 


CLAIM INTERPRETATION 
Category 2  The claim was interpreted based on "means or step plus function" limitations corresponding to the specification at page 2. Moreover, the claim has a lack of clarity as it was vague and indefinite under 35 U.S.C. 112, 2nd paragraph, for the reasons applicable to claim 1 since it is dependent on claim1. moreover, the claim is not in accordance with 35 U.S.C.112, first paragraph, (written description and enablement requirements) for the same reasons as are applicable to claim 1 and since the software programming technology to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention for electric power requirements is not adequately set forth. 
4 , see also corresponding comments under 1.1. above 
1 (The claim was literally interpreted; i.e. all claim limitations were taken into account.) 
STATUTORY 
The claim is in the category of flow chart Box 10 "A specific machine or manufacture" for the same reasons that are applicable to claim 1 (upon which it depends). 
2.2 Statutory Subject Matter: Yes 2.2.1 2.2.2 2.2.3 2.2.4 2.2.5 
Yes: Claim 2 has matters which suggest indirectly how the hardware resources of computer are utilized in processing. Therefore, the solution is information processing in which hardware resources are used. 
NOVELTY, 
Claim 2 incorporates the provision of "an automatic predictor system according to claim 1 where in said past time series data is comprised from electric power supply demand." The hypothetical prior art for case 2 does not disclose electric power supply demand calculations so there is no anticipation of claim 2. The issue becomes whether it would have been obvious to utilize the automatic predictor system of the prior art for electric power system demand. The only disclosure in this regard is page 4 (in the first embodiment disclosure) which reads "[i]t is apparent to the person skilled in the art that this predictor system can apply not only sales volume prediction but also various kinds of prediction; e.g. electric power supply prediction, traffic volume prediction, etc." Although applicant's comments were directed to the invention disclosed, due to the similarity of subject matter, an inference could be drawn that the comment applied also to the hypothetical prior art. Accordingly, an argument could be made that with respect to the predictor system of the hypothetical prior art it would also appear apparent to the person skilled in the art that this predictor system can apply not only sales volume prediction but also various kinds of prediction; e.g. electric power supply prediction. Accordingly, it would have been obvious to the artisan in view of this tacit admission. 
2.3 2.4 
NOVELTY: Yes Since the hypothetical prior art does not disclose the prediction of electric power supply, the claimed invention would be novel. INVENTIVE STEP: No 

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CASE 2 CLAIM 3 


CLAIM INTERPRETATION 
The claim was literally interpreted; i.e., all claim limitations were taken into account. The claim has a lack of clarity as it is vague and indefinite under 35 U.S.C. 112, 2nd paragraph, since the interrelationships between the corresponding steps is not adequately set forth, particularly with respect to predicting sales volume based on variable condition data, and "correction rule" which is undefined and lacks antecedent basis. Moreover, the claim is not in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph, (written description and enablement requirements) since the software programming technology to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention is not adequately set forth. 
3.1 Claim interpretation: 4 Vague expressions and/or evidently nontechnical terms were ignored. Moreover, owing to the somewhat abstract formulation, the description had to be consulted in order to interpret the claim. Nevertheless, claim 3 is not considered to fulfil the clarity requirements of A. 84 and R. 29 EPC for the following reasons: 3.1.1 3.1.2 For the purpose of answering the following questions, the vague expressions under 3.1.1 above were ignored. The predicting step was literally interpreted. 
1 (The claim was literally interpreted; i.e. all claim limitations were taken into account.) 
STATUTORY 
Nonstatutory: The claim is in the category of flow chart Box 12 "Merely manipulates abstract idea or solves a purely mathematical problem without any limitation to a practical application." Accordingly, it is nonstatutory subject matter. 
3.2 Statutory subject matter : No Claim 3 explicitly claims a method of doing business, which is as such excluded from patentability by A..52(2) and (3) EPC. 
No Information processing of the claim defines predicting sales volume of various resources sold in mass at a supermarket or the like based on variable condition data and correction rule. This information processing is apparently based on the economic law, wherein natural laws are not utilized. The claim has no matters which suggest, directly or indirectly, how the hardware resources of computer is utilized in processing. 
NOVELTY, 
Since an example of the "Hypothetical Prior art" for case 2 includes a terminal, a variable condition setter 2, a predictor 3, past time series data 11 and a correction rule table 15, the operation of these elements would render the claim obvious. Since certain elements such "including weather, entertainment, events at competitive shops or bargain sales" are deficient from the hypothetical prior art, the invention would be novel; however, one of ordinary skill in the art would have included such factors in the variable conditions for the sales calculations so as to render the invention obvious. 
3.3 NOVELTY: Yes The differences between the subjectmatter of claim 3 and D1 is that claim3 refers to prediction of specific data (sales volume data in a supermarket), that claim 3 refers also to specific condition data (weather etc), that according to claim 3 specific pointofsales (POS) data are gathered and taken into consideration for the sales volume prediction, and that in claim 3 no separate initial prediction and subsequent rule application take place, but a single step of prediction according to variable condition data, POS data and correction rule is performed. 3.4 INVENTIVE STEP: Yes The differences set out under point 3.3 above are not rendered obvious by D1. 
NOVELTY: Yes Since sales volume prediction is not described in the hypothetical prior art, the claimed invention is novel. INVENTIVE STEP: Yes As to limiting subject of prediction to the sales volume prediction, the claimed invention lacks inventive step on the same reason as claim 2. The hypothetical prior art, however, does not disclose variable conditon data including weather, entertainment, events at competitive shops or bargain sales. The matters mentioned above could not have been easily arrived at, either. Therefore the claimed invention has (? involve) inventive step. 

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CASE 2 CLAIM 4 


CLAIM INTERPRETATION 
Category 2  The claim was interpreted based on "means or step plus function" limitations corresponding to the specification pages indicated. Moreover, the claim was vague and indefinite under 35 U.S.C. 112, 2nd paragraph, since the interrelationships between the corresponding elements is not adequately set forth, and specifically with respect to claim terminology (1) the undefined "initial predicted sales volumes based on average sales conditions" and how the correction is achieved, (2) the lack of antecedent basis for "various resources" and (3) the lack of antecedent basis for "initial predicted sales volume." 
4.1 Claim interpretation:4 The comments made under 3.1.1 apply also to the corresponding wordings of claim 4 accordingly. The vague terms were ignored. The function of the predictor means was literally interpreted. The comments under 1.1.1 above apply to the correction of initial predicted sales volumes accordingly. 
1 (The claim was literally interpreted; i.e. all claim limitations were taken into account.) 
STATUTORY 
Statutory: The claim is in the category of flowchart Box 10 "A specific machine of manufacture." Claim 4 is directed to an automatic predictor system which is defined in the specification at page 2 as including a terminal1, a variable condition setter 2, a predictor3 and a correction rule table 15, all of which are machine/apparatus components which render the claim statutory. In accordance with the "Examination Guidelines For Claims: Reciting a "Means of Step Plus Function" Limitation in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 112, 6th paragraph" 1162 Off. Gaz. Pat. Off. 59 (May 17,1994), the means or step limitations should be interpreted in accordance with 112, 6th paragraph as limited to the corresponding structure, material or acts described in the specification and equivalents. 
4.2 Statutory subject matter: No 4.2.1 4.2.2 4.2.3 4.2.4 4.2.5 
Yes: Claim 4 has matters which suggest indirectly how the hardware resources of computer are utilized in processing. Therefore, the solution is information processing in which hardware resources are used. 
NOVELTY, 
The hypothetical prior art for case 2 comprises a terminal, a variable condition setter 2, a predictor 3, past time series data 11 and a correction rule table 15. Although the storage of "condition data reflecting variable sales conditions including weather, entertainment, events at competitive shops or bargain sales" is not disclosed in the hypothetical, Office notice is taken that such data would logically be used to reflect circumstances for sales and would have been an obvious addition Point of sale data could be inferred from the description of the conventional system at page 1. The insertion of the limitation "based on the average sales conditions" in claim 4 could simply be the amounts sold the previous day or week. Accordingly, the invention of claim 4 is obvious over the hypothetical prior art. 
NOVELTY: Yes, see point 4.2.2. above 4.4 INVENTIVE STEP: Yes, see the differences under point 4.2.2 above are not rendered obvious by D1. 
NOVELTY: Yes INVENTIVE STEP: Yes 