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Uniloc Communications System Patent Survives § 101 Challenge Based on Technical Improvement: Uniloc USA, Inc. v. LG Electronics USA, Inc.

Patent claims directed to a communication system recite a technical solution and therefore, the Federal Circuit held, are not patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the two-part Mayo/Alice test. Uniloc USA, Inc. v. LG Electronics USA, Inc., No. 2019-1835 (Fed. Cir. April 30, 2020) (precedential) (opinion by Judge Moore, joined by Judges Reyna and Taranto). The court thus reversed Judge Koh in the Northern District of California, who had found that claims of U.S. Patent 6,993,049 were not patent-eligible, and had granted a Rule12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Representative claim 2 of the ’049 patent recites: A primary station for use in a communications system comprising at least one secondary station, wherein means are provided for broadcasting a series of inquiry messages, each in the form of a plurality of predetermined data fields arranged according to a first communications protocol, and for adding to each inquiry message prior to transmission an additional data…

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Your Garage Door Opener Is Not Patent-Eligible

Patent claims directed to a “movable barrier operator,” i.e., controlling a garage door, are not patent-eligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice/Mayo test. Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. Techtronic Industries Co. Ltd., Nos. 2018-2103, 2018-2228 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 21, 2019) (precedential) (Judge Chen, joined by Judges O’Malley and Lourie).  There are a lot of lessons in this procedurally rich post-trial appeal from, and partial reversal of, denial of a JMOL motion. In this post we will focus on a substantive lesson: patent claims reciting devices and hardware elements have no particular claim to patent-eligibility. Representative claim 1 of U.S. 7,224,275 recites A movable barrier operator comprising: a controller having a plurality of potential operational status conditions defined, at least in part, by a plurality of operating states; a movable barrier interface that is operably coupled to the controller; a wireless status condition data transmitter that is operably coupled to the…

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Check Processing Claims Fail Alice Test at Federal Circuit

Patent claims directed to a “method for processing paper checks” are invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Mayo/Alice abstract idea test, the Federal Circuit held in Solutran, Inc. v. Elavon, Inc., Nos. 2019, 1345, 2019-1460 (July 30, 2019) (opinion by Judge Chen; joined by Judges Hughes and Stoll) (precedential). The court reversed a denial a motion for summary judgment of invalidity under 35 U.S.C. § 101, which had accompanied a grant of summary judgment of infringement. Independent claim 1 of U.S. Patent No. 8,311,945 recites: 1. A method for processing paper checks, comprising: a) electronically receiving a data file containing data captured at a merchant’s point of purchase, said data including an amount of a transaction associated with MICR information for each paper check, and said data file not including images of said checks; b) after step a), crediting an account for the merchant; c) after step b),…

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Phone Registration Verification Patents Easily Fail Alice

Claims of four patents directed to using a telephone to verify a person registering for an account are invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice patent-eligibility test, the court held in TeleSign Corporation v. Twilio, Inc., Case No. 18-cv-03279-VC (N.D. Cal. Oct. 19, 2018). Accordingly, the court granted a Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings that asserted claims of the four patents-in-suit were invalid under 35 U.S.C. 101. The patents are U.S. Patent Nos. 7,945,034 (“Process for determining characteristics of a telephone number”), 8,462,920, 8,687,038, and 9,300,792(each entitled “Registration, verification and notification system” and sharing a common specification). The court first made quick work of the ’034 patent, finding that its claims “describe a method for verifying an online registration by using the characteristics of the registrant’s telephone number.”  The claims are, said the court, direct to the abstract idea of “using information about a user to confirm his or…

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DDR and Enfish Can’t Save Software Fault Recovery Claims

Claims directed to “software fault recovery” are patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C § 101, said the court in Atticus Research Corp. v. MMSoft Design Ltd., No. 4:17-CV-3387 (S.D. Texas Sept. 6, 2018), granting a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss allegations that claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,567,937 were infringed.  The court agreed with the defendant that the claims were directed to the unpatentable abstract idea, under the Alice/Mayo test, of taking a corrective default action if a remote user does not specify otherwise within a period of time. Claim 16 of the ’937 patent recites: 16. A program storage device, readable by a computer processor, comprising: instructions stored on the program storage device for causing the computer processor to determine a state of a process executing on the computer processor; transmit a first signal to a remote device if the process is in a first state indicative of a fault condition; initiate a…

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