LendingTree, LLC v. Zillow, Inc., et al

LendingTree, LLC v. Zillow, Inc., et al., Lead Appeal No. 2014-1435, --- Fed. Appx. --- (Moore, Schall, and O’Malley) (July 25, 2016)

Patent(s):    

  • 6,385,594 | Entitled “Method and computer network for coordinating a loan over the internet” 
  • 6,611,816 | Entitled “Method and computer network for coordinating a loan over the internet” 

Disposition:               

Reversal of district court denial of summary judgment regarding § 101 patent ineligible.

Abstract Idea:

Yes

Something More:

No

Technology:              

Method for coordinating loans on a loan processing computer over the Internet.

Summary:                 

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.