Affinity Labs of Texas, LLC v. DirecTV, LLC et al.

Affinity Labs of Texas, LLC v. DirecTV, LLC et al., Lead Appeal No. 2015-1845, --- F.3d --- (Prost, Bryson, Wallach, Circuit Judge) (Sept. 23, 2016)

Patent(s):

  • 7,970,379 | Entitled, "Providing Broadcast Content"

Disposition:               

Affirmance of motion to dismiss on grounds that patent was ineligible under § 101.

Abstract Idea:

Yes

Something More:

No

Technology:              

Streaming regional broadcast signals to cellular telephones located outside the region served by the regional broadcaster.

Summary:                 

In affirming the district court’s decision, the Federal Circuit found that the ’379 patent’s claims were directed to wirelessly communicating regional broadcast content but were not directed to how to do so on a cellular telephone. While the patent specification contained flow charts showing the provision of content over the internet, nothing showed how to implement the broadcast to cellphones. The Federal Circuit rejected the patentee’s analogies to other cases and noted that the patent was not directed to a solution for a technological problem and that the claims were not directed to an improvement in cellular telephones. 

As to the second step in the Alice inquiry, the Federal Circuit determined that the claims simply recite generic features of cell phones and routine functions of cell phones. These included storage mediums, graphical user interfaces and transmitting and receiving signals. It rejected the patentee’s argument that the use of a downloadable application for presenting a graphical user interface on the cellphone was novel by noting that while it may have been “novel” as of the priority date, the application described functionally and did not “cross out of the abstract idea” category. Instead “the claims are drafted in a way that would effectively cover any wireless delivery of out-of-region broadcasting content to a cellular telephone via a network.”