A method and aparatus for obtaining quantities comprised of groups of smaller quantities grouped and counted for the larger quantity.
It was never the object of patent laws to grant a monopoly for every trifling device, every shadow of a shade of an idea, which would naturally and spontaneously occur to any skilled mechanic or operator in the ordinary progress of manufactures. Such an indiscriminate creation of exclusive privileges tends rather to obstruct than to stimulate invention. It creates a class of speculative schemers who make it their business to watch the advancing wave of improvement, and gather its foam in the form of patented monopolies, which enable them to lay a heavy tax on the industry of the country, without contributing anything to the real advancement of the arts. It embarrasses the honest pursuit of business with fears and apprehensions of unknown liability lawsuits and vexatious accounting for profits made in good faith.
–U.S. Supreme Court, Atlantic Works vs. Brady, 1882
Via Technocrat.net, this article about software and business patents. One of these days I'll get around to patenting a method and aparatus for obtaining quantities comprised of groups of smaller quantities grouped and counted for the larger quantity.
Or as translated from patent-speak, addition.