For purposes of efficiency in examination, examiners may use a streamlined eligibility analysis (Pathway A) when the eligibility of the claim is self-evident, e.g., because the claim clearly improves a technology or computer functionality. However, if there is doubt as to whether the applicant is effectively seeking coverage for a judicial exception itself, the full eligibility analysis (the Alice/Mayo test described in MPEP § 2106, subsection III) should be conducted to determine whether the claim integrates the judicial exception into a practical application or recites significantly more than the judicial exception.
The results of the streamlined analysis will always be the same as the full analysis, thus the streamlined analysis is not a means of avoiding a finding of ineligibility that would occur if a claim were to undergo the full eligibility analysis. Similarly, a claim that qualifies as eligible after Step 2A (Pathway B) or Step 2B (Pathway C) of the full analysis would also be eligible if the streamlined analysis (Pathway A) were applied to that claim. It may not be apparent that an examiner employed the streamlined analysis because the result is a conclusion that the claim is eligible, and there will be no rejection of the claim on eligibility grounds. In practice, the record may reflect the conclusion of eligibility simply by the absence of an eligibility rejection or may include clarifying remarks, when appropriate.
In the context of the flowchart in MPEP § 2106, subsection III, if, when viewed as a whole, the eligibility of the claim is self-evident (e.g., because the claim clearly improves a technology or computer functionality), the claim is eligible at Pathway A, thereby concluding the eligibility analysis.