No Patent-Eligibility for Biometric Identification System

Patent claims to “providing global biometric identification services to a plurality of remote parties” are directed to an unpatentable abstract idea under 35 U.S.C. § 101, said the court in IQS US Inc. v. Calsoft Labs, Inc., No. 1-16-cv-07774 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 18, 2017), granting the defendant’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.

Claim 1 of US 7,773,779 recites

System for providing global biometric identification services to a plurality of remote parties, the system comprising:

a template receiver, comprising

  1. a) a registration input configured to receive from at least one remote registering party communicating with said template receiver, at least one registration template complete as originally extracted from a respective biometric sample of an end user of said remote registering party, associated with a tag relating said registration template to said end user; and
  2. b) an enquiry input, configured to receive from a remote inquiring party communicating with said template receiver, at least one test template complete as originally extracted from a respective biometric sample of a person; and

a verifier, associated with said template receiver, configured to determine a degree of match between said registration template and said test template, by directly comparing the registration template complete as originally extracted with the test template complete as originally extracted, thereby to verify said person as an end user, using said determined degree of match.

The court distilled the essential subject matter of the claim by explaining that comparison of a “registration template, which is linked to a specific person . . . to a test template for the purposes of determining or confirming an individual’s identity . . . is not a new process.”  Humans have long compared images of faces to memories to identify people.  The claims, therefore, were essentially directed to mental processes that were abstract ideas.

The plaintiff unavailingly tried to rely on Amdocs (Israel) Ltd. v. Openet Telecom, Inc., 841 F.3d 1288 (Fed. Cir. 2016), where claims were patent-eligible by reciting a solution to the problem of massive data analysis.  Here, in contrast, the recited templates were created outside of the claimed system, and the patent specification did not “discuss how the templates are compared.”

There was no inventive concept to save the claims.  The patent explained that the claimed biometric identification system solved a problem had by small businesses.  There was no “technological improvement.”  Instead, the patent “focuses on making a biometric identification system more affordable by making part of the system remote and allowing users to access it through a subscription service.”  It used only existing technology, and threatened “broad preemption.”

Upcoming Webinar

Functional Claiming After Williamson v. Citrix
December 14, 2017 at 12:00 pm EST
During the webinar, Charles Bieneman will cover strategies for avoiding – or embracing – functional claim interpretations, and for avoiding findings that functional claim language is indefinite. Register

Subscribe