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Can I patent a mathematical formula?

One of the things that you cannot obtain a patent for is a mathematical formula. For example, the PTO will not grant a patent to a teacher who discovers a formula for determining the square footage of some shape. However, you might be able to patent the application of a mathematical formula, if it otherwise meets the patent requirements. Thus, you could obtain a patent on a computer program that implements a mathematical formula, and protect your application of that formula.