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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 Cir. June 3, 2020) (opinion by Judge Taranto, joined by Judges Dyk and Hughes) (non-precedential).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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§ 101 Patent-Eligibility Turns on a Technical Solution to a Technical Problem: Pebble Tide LLC v. Arlo Technologies

In an interesting dichotomy, patent claims directed to outputting digital content did not survive, but claims directed to social network search output did survive, respective motions to dismiss based on lack of patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice/Mayo test. Pebble Tide LLC v. Arlo Tech., Inc. (D. Del. Jan 31, 2020). Pebble Tide LLC sued three defendants alleging infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 10,261,739 and 10,303,411, both directed to “capturing, storing, accessing, and outputting digital content.” In an unrelated action, Mimzi LLC sued five defendants alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 9,128,981, directed to a “phone assisted ‘photographic memory.’” Delaware’s Judge Stark, in a bench ruling then documented in a written memorandum, held that Pebble Tide’s ’739 and ’411 patents were invalid under § 101, but that Mimzi’s ’981 patent, though directed to an abstract idea, could not be deemed patent-ineligible at the pleadings stage. Pebble Tide…

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Patent Claims to Evaluating Body Movement Fail § 101 on Post-Trial Motion: ILife Technologies, Inc. V. Nintendo Of America, Inc.

Patent claims directed to automating collection and interpretation of sensor data are often suspect under the two-part  Mayo/Alice patent-eligibility test under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Not so often, however, do judges do as the court did in iLife Technologies, Inc. v. Nintendo of America, Inc., C.A. No. No. 3:13-cv-4987-M (Jan 17, 2020), and hold patent claims invalid under § 101 after a trial and eight figure jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The accused device, interestingly, was one with which many of us are familiar: the Nintendo Wii. Claim 1 of U.S. Patent No. 6,864,796 recites: A system within a communications device capable of evaluating movement of a body relative to an environment, said system comprising: a sensor, associable with said body, that senses dynamic and static accelerative phenomena of said body, and a processor, associated with said sensor, that processes said sensed dynamic and static accelerative phenomena as a…

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Selecting Compression Format in Streaming Digital Video Held Not Patent-Eligible: Adaptive Streaming Inc. v. Netflix, Inc.

Patent claims directed to distributing streaming video data in a first formal and then converting the data to a second format are not patent-eligible, said the court in Adaptive Streaming Inc. v. Netflix, Inc., Case No. SA CV 19-1450-DOC (KESx) (C.D. Cal. Nov. 19. 2019). The court thus granted the defendant’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, holding claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,047,305 (“Personal broadcasting system for audio and video data using a wide area network”) invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101. One lesson of this case is that even long claims with a lot of technical verbiage should not necessarily be expected to survive an Alice challenge. Here is independent claim 39 from the ’305 patent, discussed in the court’s opinion; the bolded limitations are those that the plaintiff argued, without success, represented a patent-eligible technical innovation: A system to broadcast to at least one client device, the system…

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Data Processing Can Be Patent-Eligible, Says Federal Circuit in Koninklijke KPN N.V. v. Gemalto M2M GmbH

A patent claiming a “device for producing error checking based on original data provided in blocks with each block having plural bits in a particular ordered sequence” has survived a patent-eligibility challenge at the Federal Circuit under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the two-part Mayo/Alice test the. Koninklijke KPN N.V. v. Gemalto M2M GmbH, Nos. 2018-1863, 2018-1864, 2018-1865 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 15, 2019) (precedential) (opinion by Judge Chen, joined by Judges Dyk and Stoll). U.S. Patent No. 6,212,662 includes only four claims, one independent. The district court had granted judgment on the pleadings based on finding all four claims patent-ineligible. KPN, the plaintiff-appellant, appealed with respect to dependent claims 2-4, and the Federal Circuit reversed. This case is a poster child for setting forth a technical problem, and the inventor’s solution to it, in the patent specification. Check data, the court noted, is well known for confirming the accuracy of…

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