July 2014

The Alice Effect: Recent Patent-Eligibility Cases in the District Courts

As this blog and others have noted, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reacted quickly to change examination procedures in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l.  Moreover, as two recent district court cases suggest, Alice’s impact is being felt in ongoing patent litigation.  In DietGoal Innovations LLC v. Bravo Media LLC, No. 13 Civ. 8391 (PAE) (S.D.N.Y. July 8, 2014), and Comcast IP Holdings I, LLC v. Sprint Communs. Co. L.P., No. 12-205-RGA (D. Del. July 16, 2014), two different district courts continued the accelerating trend of granting motions of summary judgment of patent invalidity for failure to recite patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C § 101.  Both of these cases reinforce the lesson that broad claims, and claims requiring user interaction, are highly susceptible to patent-eligibility challenges. DietGoal Innovations The result in this case will shock no one.  The patent at issue in DietGoal Innovations, U.S. 6,585,516, was entitled “Method and System for Computerized Visual Behavior Analysis, Training, and Planning,” and claimed “A system of computerized meal planning.”  Representative claims 1 and 2 of the ‘516 patent recite: 1. A system of computerized meal planning, comprising: a User… Read More »The Alice Effect: Recent Patent-Eligibility Cases in the District Courts

Claims Directed to a Data Structure Are Not Patent-Eligible, Says Federal Circuit

In its first patent-eligibility case since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l., the Federal Circuit has held that claims directed to a data structure are not patent-eligible, affirming the district court’s summary judgment of invalidity.  Digitech Image Techs., LLC v. Elecs. for Imaging, Inc. (Fed. Cir. July 11, 2014).  Thus, all claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,128,415 “directed to a device profile and a method for creating a device profile within a digital image processing system . . . were invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101.” The ‘415 patent was directed to an “improved device profile” to provide for a better translation of “an image’s pixel data from a device dependent format into an independent color space, which can then be translated to any number of output devices at a reduced level of distortion.”  Thus, the ‘415 patent taught and claimed a device profile including “both spatial properties and color properties of an imaging device.” Two independent claims of the ‘415 patent recited simply “a device profile.”  However, the Court found that “the device profile described in the ’415 patent is not a tangible or physical thing and thus does not fall within any… Read More »Claims Directed to a Data Structure Are Not Patent-Eligible, Says Federal Circuit