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Image Display Patents Fail Alice Test: Gabara v. Facebook, Inc.

In granting a motion to dismiss for lack of patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C § 101, a court determined that patents relating to moving a portable unit to view an image of a stationary map and using a portable wireless system to improve the operations of a group communicating electronically are abstract ideas that do not include an inventive concept.  Gabara v. Facebook, Inc., No. 9cv9890(DLC) (S.D.N.Y. Sep. 4, 2020) Plaintiff Gabara alleged that Facebook committed direct, induced, and contributory infringement of the five patents at issue: US Patent Nos. 8,930,131; 8,620,545; 8,836,698; 8,706,400 (the “Image Patents”), and 9,299,348 (the “348 patent”).  The Image Patents The Image Patents are directed toward moving a portable unit, such as a mobile device, to view an image of a stationary map instead of scrolling on the device to change the view.  The court likened this concept to moving a telescope across a…

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Wireless Surveillance System with Generic Components is Patent-Ineligible: Sensormatic Elect., LLC, v. Wize Labs, Inc.

In granting a motion to dismiss based on lack of patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice/Mayo test, a court held that patent claims for multiple patents directed to “wireless surveillance systems for monitoring a target environment” are abstract ideas, and “merely implement[ing] the abstract idea of wireless communication and remote surveillance using well-known, generic computer components and functionalities” does not provide an inventive concept. Sensormatic v. Wyze Labs., No. 19-1543-CFC (D. Del. Sept. 3, 2020) (patents-in-suit are U.S. Patent Nos. 7,954,129; 7,730,534; 7,936,370; and 8,610,772) The court identified claim 14 of the ‘129 patent as representative of all claims in the asserted patents. Independent claim 14 of the ‘129 patent is reproduced here: 14. A surveillance system for wireless communication between components comprising: a base system including at least two wireless input capture devices (ICDs), the ICSs having at least one sensor and at least one input…

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CAFC Easily Invalidates Mobile Device Search Patent under Alice: British Telecommunications PLC v. IAC/InterActiveCorp.

Patent claims directed to presenting a user with a “short list” of  “information sources” for selection based on a user location are patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the  Alice/Mayo test. British Telecommunications  PLC v. IAC/InterActiveCorp., No. 2019-1917 (Fed. Cir. June 3, 2020) (opinion by Judge Taranto, joined by Judges Dyk and Hughes) (non-precedential). The Federal Circuit panel upheld the district court’s decision, on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, that all claims of U.S.  Patent  No. 6,397,040 are ineligible under § 101. (The underlying lawsuit involves six patents, but only the § 101 eligibility of the ’040 patent was at issue in this appeal.) Representative claim 1 of the ’040 patent recites: A method of selecting information sources from which information is provided to users via a telecommunications system, said method comprising: tracking the location of a user in the system by receipt of tracking information for said user;…

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Method for Providing Enhanced Functionality in Exchange for Personal Information is Ineligible: Veripath, Inc. v. Didomi

In granting a motion to dismiss based on lack of patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice/Mayo test, a court held that patent claims directed to “granting permission to access personal information in exchange for enhanced functionality…[of] a routine piece of software” are abstract ideas, and “merely stat[ing] that the claims teach a technology-based solution, which improves the functionality of the prior art” does not provide an inventive concept. Veripath, Inc. v. Didomi, No. 19-civ-1702 (GBD) (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 30, 2020) (patent-in-suit is U.S. Patent No. 10,075,451). Independent claim 1 of the ‘451 Patent is reproduced here: 1. A method for controlling access to a user’s personal information comprising:      providing a software component for inclusion in an application, the software component having an application programming interface (API);      obtaining, from the application executing on a device of a user of the application, personal information about the user of…

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It’s Official: Berkheimer and USPTO’s January 2019 Guidance Have Reduced Alice Rejections

According to a recent report by the USPTO’s Chief Economist, the Federal Circuit’s 2018 Berkheimer decision and the USPTO’s January 2019 patent-eligibility guidance have reduced both the frequency and uncertainty of examiners’ patent-eligibility rejections under and 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice/Mayo test. Anecdotally, for a number of months it has seemed that examiners were making fewer patent-eligibility rejections than they had been in the years following Alice. The January 2019 guidance in particular, as I wrote at the time, seemed designed to reduce Alice rejections. As this graph illustrates, that has proven to be true. Alice rejections peaked prior to Berkheimer; the USPTO points to its April 2018 memorandum modifying § 101 examination procedure in light of Berkheimer as accelerating the downward trend. But again, the dramatic downturn in patent-eligibility rejections occurred after the January 2019 guidance. Perhaps even more interesting than the decrease in Alice rejections is…

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