DDR Holdings Saves Patent-Eligibility of SMS Messaging Claims

Surviving a patent-eligibility challenge under 35 U.S.C. § 101 were patent claims drawn to a “method of using a computer system to facilitate two-way communication between a mobile device and an Internet server.” Messaging Gateway Solutions LLC v. Amdocs Inc., No. 1:14-cv-00732 (D. Del. April 15, 2015). Accordingly, the court denied defendants’ motions for judgment on the pleadings under FRCP 12(c), and granted the plaintiff’s motion.

The court began by addressing an issue other courts have grappled with: whether the “clear and convincing” standard sets forth the burden of proof to show patent-ineligibility.  The court here ducked the question, finding that the patent claims at issue were patent-eligible under regardless of the standard.

More interesting in a case finding patent-eligibility was that in the court found the claims at issue to be directed to an abstract idea, namely, “the abstract idea of translation.” The court explained that “[t]he claim is a method that enables a device that ordinarily cannot send a message to a different device to do so,” and that this claim was “essentially the same as a translator assisting two people who speak different languages to communicate with each other.”

However, the claims were saved by an additional inventive concept. Under DDR Holdings, LLC v. Hotels.com, L.P., the claims here, directed to SMS (Simple Message Service) messages, were saved by solving “a problem unique to text-message telecommunication between a mobile device and a computer,” and because the provided solution was “tethered to the technology that created the problem.”