Affinity Labs

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 Cir. June 3, 2020) (opinion by Judge Taranto, joined by Judges Dyk and Hughes) (non-precedential).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; accessing location data indicating localities in which information from the respective sources is deemed to be relevant; generating a shortlist of information sources for said user on the basis of said tracking information and said location data; and transmitting said shortlist to a terminal associated with said user so as… Read More »CAFC Easily Invalidates Mobile Device Search Patent under Alice: British Telecommunications PLC v. IAC/InterActiveCorp.

Online User Authentication Service Fails § 101 Patent-Eligibility Test

Claims of a patent directed to “an interaction between a user, an ASP [authentication service provider] client, and an ASP” were invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Mayo/Alice patent-eligibility test, said a Northern District of California judge in Smart Authentication LLC v. Electronic Arts, Inc., Case No. 19-cv-01994-SI (N.D. Cal. Sept. 11, 2019). The court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, and dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint with prejudice. Following Inter Partes Review proceedings, the only remaining asserted claim of U.S. Patent No, 8,082,213B2 was claim 11, which depended from claim 1: 1. A user-authentication service implemented as routines that execute one or more computer systems interconnected by two or more communications media with both an authentication-service client, and a user, the user-authentication service comprising: the one or more computer systems; stored user-authentication policies specified by the user; stored user information; account interface routines that implement an account interface by which the user specifies, modifies, adds, and deletes user-authentication policies; and authentication-interface routines that implement an authentication interface by which, following initiation of a transaction by the user with the authentication-service client, the authentication-service client submits an authentication request, through the first communications medium or through a second… Read More »Online User Authentication Service Fails § 101 Patent-Eligibility Test

User Interface Features Not Patent-Eligible

Finding a lack of technical innovation, a court held claims for three features for a user-vehicle interface to be directed to patent-ineligible abstract ideas under the Mayo/Alice test and 35 U.S.C. § 101. Thunder Power New Energy Vehicle Development Co. Ltd. v. Byton North America Corp., No. 18-cv-03115-JST (N.D. Ca., Oct. 31, 2018). Plaintiff, Thunder Power, alleged infringement by Defendant Byton of claims of Patent Nos. 9,547,373, 9,563,329, and 9,561,724. Byton moved to dismiss, contending that the asserted claims failed to recite patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The court granted the motion to dismiss.   The ‘373 Patent Patent ‘373 is directed to a system that captures and processes gesture signals from both a driver and a passenger, prioritizing the driver where the two are in conflict. Claim 1, chosen by the court as representative recites in part: A vehicle operating system for operating a vehicle . . . comprising . . . a processing device configured to . . . determine a first operational signal is from a gesture action image for the driver and determine a second operational signal is from a gesture action image for the passenger . . . select the first operational signal… Read More »User Interface Features Not Patent-Eligible

Can One Predict Patent-Eligibility at the Federal Circuit?

Some claims directed to a computer spreadsheet are patent-eligible, while others are not, said the Federal Circuit in Data Engine Techs. LLC v. Google LLC (Fed. Cir. 2018) (precedential).  The District of Delaware had granted a Rule 12 judgment on the pleadings of 35 U.S.C. § 101 invalidity of claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,590,259; 5,784,545; 6,282,551; and 5,303,146; the Federal Circuit thus reversed-in-part, affirmed-in-part, and remanded. The three surviving patents (with the exception of one independent claim which had a patentable dependent claim), the ’259, ’545, and ’551) were dubbed the “Tab Patents.”  The Tab Patents purportedly solved the problem that “complex commands” were required by “prior art three-dimensional or multipage electronic spreadsheets.”  The patent-eligible solution was “a notebook-tabbed interface” to provide users with easy navigation through three-dimensional spreadsheet.  Why?  Because the notebook tab “allowed computers, for the first time, to provide rapid access to and processing of information in different spreadsheets, as well as easy navigation in three-dimensional spreadsheets.” Interestingly, the court supported its conclusion by pointing to what most of us would think of as secondary considerations of non-obviousness (all of which, the court noted, were in the prosecution histories, and therefore included in the pleadings considered at the Rule… Read More »Can One Predict Patent-Eligibility at the Federal Circuit?