Internet Auction Claims Held Not Patent-Eligible

Patent claims directed to a two-mode computer-based Internet auction have been held patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101, and a motion for judgment on the pleadings under FRCP 12(c) was accordingly granted in Advanced Auctions LLC v. Ebay Inc., No. 13CV1612 BEN (JLB) (S.D. Cal Mar. 27, 2015).

According to United States Patent No. 8,266,000, during a first mode of an Internet auction, a user receives updated information on an auction bid by manually refreshing a web page (screen). A second mode of operation provides auction information automatically to users (bidders). A variety of ways are disclosed for the user to receive automatic auction information. For example, the second mode can auto-update the page an hour before an auction is scheduled to end, automatically refresh specific items such as the price and highest bidder, or stream video for an update.

The court determined that the ’000 patent claims were directed to the abstract idea of an auction, and lacked any “additional inventive concept that would make [them] patent eligible.” The claims “simply implement a two-part auction, the Internet equivalent of a silent auction followed by a live auction.” During the first mode, the bidders monitor the status of the bids on-line as in a silent auction. Then, in the second mode, bids are provided frequently and without a user request, as with an auctioneer at a live auction.