The court found the claims are directed to the abstract idea of “identifying and categorizing files based on a set of predetermined criteria.” This merely computerizes a long-standing task, identifying and categorizing illicit files, and these functions can be performed by humans. Limitations describing the type of source code used to identify files were merely routine computer applications. Plaintiffs’ argument on these limitations amounts to a novelty argument.Read More
Polsinelli on Patentability | Keeping You Informed on Alice Updates
Polsinelli’s Patent Litigation team includes 22 experienced patent litigators in our offices across the country, representing global, national, and regional companies, and individuals in patent matters. We partner with our clients to develop creative and cost-effective solutions for the complex issues that arise in patent litigation. The practice was recently named one of four 2016 "IP Powerhouses" in the nation by BTI Litigation Outlook.
In 2016, the practice continues to closely monitor ongoing judicial interpretations related to Alice Corp. vs. CLS Bank Int'l, one of the most important patent litigation matters in history.
The court found the claims are not directed to an abstract idea but instead are directed to “particular improvements over prior art multimedia data indexing techniques that render such data accessible in real time.” The court noted that without a factual record it could not conclude that the claims could be wholly performed by the human mind. The court found the defendant’s challenge of the inventiveness amounted to a challenge of the novelty of that invention instead. The court also found that the fact that the prior art received patent protection was suggestive of the patentability of the claims here.Read More
The PTAB found the claims were directed to the abstract idea of a bailment scheme for storing and tracking containers, a longstanding economic practice. The use of a remote device communicating with a computer, categories of data to track the bailment, and “facilitating delivery of more boxes than requested” (which the court analogized to giving a “baker’s dozen”) were not inventive and did not render the claims patent-eligible.Read More
The court rejected both parties’ formulation of the abstract idea, finding that the claims are directed to “preparing a video in streaming video format for sharing over a computer network.” Court considered the problems patentee purported to solve and rejected these, by reference to the specification citations of preexisting technology or by concessions from the patentee in briefing. The limitations individually and as an ordered whole did not add an inventive concept as they merely recited conventional computer functions, such as using the Internet.Read More
The court considered only those claims the Plaintiffs explicitly discussed in their opposition to Defendants’ selection of a representative claim. The court concluded the claims are directed to the abstract idea of providing alert notifications to multiple persons, a common business activity before the issuance of the patents. The court rejected arguments of the role of types of alerts and delivery mechanisms as novelty arguments. The claims lacked an inventive concept as they only used routine and conventional functions of existing technology. The claims did not provide a solution for a problem created by new technology but conceded that the claims implemented features that used existing standards and technology.Read More
The court found that factual issues precluded grant of the motion, including dispute on the number of asserted claims and which claims were representative. Further, “the briefing makes clear that the parties dispute the proper interpretation of the claims, such that the Court finds itself unable to develop a ‘full understanding of the basic character of the claimed subject matter,’” citing Content Extraction. Court declined to select representative claims.Read More
The Federal Circuit agreed with the district court that the claims were directed to abstract matter, citing precedent finding that collecting information is an abstract idea, even when limited to specific content. The court distinguished the claims here from those found not invalid in Enfish, as those claims were directed to “improvement in computers as tools”, but the instant claims only used computers as tools. Turning to the second step of Alice, the Federal Circuit found no inventive concept. The claims did not even require new source of type of information, or new techniques for analyzing it, which potentially could have added inventive material.Read More
The court quickly stripped down the alleged invention as unpatentable, stating that “[o]nce the generic, computing terminology is removed, it is clear that the ’025 Patent claims are directed at the abstract concept of administering a test: The ’025 Patent would provide users with instructional materials including test questions, collect answers to the questions, and send answers to a central server to be reviewed by a manager.”
The court further found that the claims were directed to such generic computer components as: a “local computer,” a “training program including an interactive test having questions,” a “training session display,” a “first human-computer interface ... enabling an employee to enter answers to questions,” a “low bandwidth connection,” a “remote computer server at a central location,” and a “second interface enabling a manager to access” the test information in real time. Accordingly, the abstract idea was not transformed into an “inventive concept.”Read More
The court described the patented method as: “permitting users to input a phone number on the web or a mobile phone app, determine the number’s carrier, search the carrier’s name database, and return the name associated with the phone number.” Accordingly, the abstract idea was reduced to: looking up a name associated with a phone number.
Patentee attempted to fend off the motion arguing that the claims were “not simply directed to finding out the identity of the person associated with a phone number, but are directed to a particular way of doing so” not previously available and arguing that the “particular” way employs a generic web browser to “connect[ ] individual users over the Internet to proprietary carrier CNAM databases via an SS7 interfacing node.” The court flat out rejected this argument because Greenflight had not invented the SS7 interface and that Greenflight had asserted in its counterclaim that “use of SS7 technology ‘is such a common occurrence that the telecom industry simply refers to it as a name ‘dip.’” Accordingly, the court rejected the argument stating that “the patent employs industry-standard technology to perform a longstanding business practice, with no asserted improvement other than to use generic internet applications to obtain certain customer side advantages.”Read More
Reviewing the district court’s finding de novo, the panel made its opinion clear from the start: “We begin our analysis at step one. On its face, representative method claim 1 is directed to an abstract idea; namely, a loan-application clearinghouse or, more simply, coordinating loans. …Indeed, claim 1 is directed to a practice similar to ‘fundamental economic practice[s]’ found abstract by the Supreme Court. Alice, 134 S. Ct. at 2357. …. the concept of applying for loans and receiving offers is also long prevalent in our financial system.” The panel likewise held that the claim did not transform the abstract idea and merely the automation of a fundamental economic concept.
In addressing LendingTree’s contention that simultaneously showing competing loan offers added an inventive concept, the panel noted that LendingTree’s contention closely mirrored claims which had been held abstract in Mortg. Grader, Inc. v. First Choice Loan Servs. Inc., 811 F.3d 1314, 1318, 1324 (Fed. Cir. 2016). The Mortgage Grader claims had “enabled a borrower ‘to search [a] database to identify a set of loan packages’ from a plurality of lenders and ‘to compare the loan packages within the set,’ and that also was configured ‘to display to the borrower an indication of a total cost of each loan package in the set.’ Accordingly, the panel did not find LendingTree’s contention persuasive and the claims were found to be directed to ineligible subject matter.Read More
As a preliminary matter, the court did not definitively find the patents patentable. Rather, the court explained that it had not had “the benefit of any form of expert testimony amplifying the language and claims of the patents-in-suit enabling the court to determine more definitively whether the patents-at-issue are truly a technological improvement over prior art.” The court held that based on the limited record, it could not determine that the patents-at-issue were patent in-eligible.
The ‘724 Patent: The court explained that the '724 patent taught an innovative construct—involving satellite communication receivers and GPS receivers—beyond a simple generic computer.
The ‘001 Patent: The court did not reveal its reasoning, but stated that “based upon the descriptive information provided in the complaint, augmented by the patent, it would appear that the system described in the '001 patent meets the criteria of Section 101 at this stage and is facially patentable.”
The ‘686 Patent: The apparatus claims of the '686 patent are tied to a particular machine, specifically non-generic wireless communication units. These units are described as containing a global position sensor and “a selectable port wiring interface.” The Court explained that these special features were sufficient at this stage to defeat a claim of invalidity
The ‘626 Patent: The court held that based on the specialized monitoring features described in Claim 4 of the '626 patent, coupled with the format translation, the complaint “appea[ed] to describe” an innovative technological advancement.
The ‘150 Patent: The court refused to dismiss the ‘150 patent as patent-ineligible, because the innovative technology “allegedly” improved the measurement of fuel consumption. Traditional systems measure engine run time based upon fuel consumption. The '150 patent monitors the frequencies of the engine alternator corresponding to the engine's speed.Read More
The PTAB held that the patent was based on patent-ineligible subject matter, because the claims of the ‘603 patent were directed to the abstract idea of using an amusing game or an external event to reveal the outcome of a lottery.
The patent did not contain “something more” so as to transform the abstract idea into patent eligible subject matter. The PTAB explained that the claims did not contain “something more” because the claims did not recite any limitations that transform them into a patent-eligible application.Read More
The court found the patents invalid. The court explained that under the first step of the Alice analysis, the claims in the '959 and '267 Patents were directed to “the abstract idea of distributed processing akin to the military's command and control system.”
The court explained that under the second step of the Alice analysis, whether viewed individually or as an ordered combination, the claims of the '959 and '267 Patents do not contain an inventive concept. The claims do little more than task generic computers with generic functions. Even the central idea of the claims – the use of a “network” of computers – uses a generic network. The claims simply provide for completing a task or process by distributing it downward via a hierarchical series of “handlers” located on generic computers spread throughout a generic network.Read More
The court did not find the claims were directed to an abstract idea because the claims were similar to those found not invalid in Enfish, and likewise are directed to specific problem that makes computers more efficient. The claims used “specific equipment that encodes and decodes digital audio in a new way, using a specific format that is more efficient and flexible than previous methods to solve an existing problem,” quoting plaintiffs’ brief.Read More
The court rejected plaintiffs’ constructions, finding the plain and ordinary meaning sufficient to resolve the patents’ validity. The court concluded the claims were directed to the abstract idea of “the transmission of substantially real time data of whether there are any open parking spaces in a given lot.” Such claims are part of a long tradition or organizing human activity, analogous to maintaining medical records or collecting clinical trial data, subject matter that has been found patent ineligible. The claims were not directed to problems unique to the Internet or mobile devices. No inventive concept was added.Read More
The PTAB found the claims were directed to the abstract idea of managing inventory in view of information. Petitioner met its burden to show that “providing or restricting access to customer information to distributors or suppliers, for example, based on who is assigned permission or roles, as a general matter, was a well-known process that could be performed manually, or by using already commercially available computer products.” The claims were not directed to a specific improvement in computer operations. The conventional tools recited by the specification did not add an inventive concept.Read More
The Federal Circuit agreed with the district court that the process of filtering content is an abstract idea because it is a “a longstanding, well-known method of organizing human behavior, similar to concepts previously found to be abstract.” The court distinguished the claims at issue from the claims treated in the Federal Circuit’s decision Enfish LLC v. Microsoft Corp, as the claims here are not obviously directed to a non-abstract idea, and are not “unambiguously directed to an improvement in computer capabilities.” The court found no need to incorporate claim limitations into its own expression of the abstract idea as it did in Enfish. As to the inventive concept, the court agreed with the district court that the limitations taken individually did not add an inventive concept, but disagreed with the district court’s analysis of the ordered combination of the limitations, which it found looked similar to an obviousness analysis. That is error because, as is the case here, “an inventive concept can be found in the non-conventional and non-generic arrangement of known, conventional pieces.”Read More
The court concluded at step one of the Alice test that the '431 Patent claims were directed to patent ineligible subject matter because the patent’s claimed function of forecasting intermittent demand was an abstract idea similar to risk hedging. At step two, the '431 Patent did not provide something more that made the subject matter patent eligible because it merely described a generic computer system to carry out the entire process.Read More
The Court explained that under the first step of the Alice analysis, American Well's claims were directed to a patent-ineligible abstract idea: setting up consultations between patients and available healthcare providers. The claims embodied the abstract idea of connecting a patient with an available doctor. The claims involved a method of “organizing human activity” and they constituted an “idea, having no particular concrete or tangible form.” The Court reasoned that allowing American Well to patent the idea of using a computer to connect a patient with an available doctor would effectively grant a monopoly over an abstract idea.
The Court explained that under the second step of the Alice analysis the claims at issue did not contain an inventive concept. Instead, they merely added generic and previously-known computer components to an abstract idea. The claims described routine performance of a computer—such as accessing and storing information” on a data repository, identifying medical service providers in a pool, sending and receiving communications over a computer, and using the Internet to do all of the above, including setting up a “communication channel”—that did not transform an abstract idea into patent-eligible subject matter.