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CAFC Split Favors Patent-Eligibility of Network Monitoring Claims: Packet Intelligence LLC v. NetScout Systems, Inc.

A split Federal Circuit panel disagreed whether patent claims directed to network monitoring for whether received packets belong to a particular “conversational flow” are directed to an abstract idea. Judge Lourie was joined by Judge Hughes in affirming a district court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law rejecting a defense of patent-eligibility, under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice/Mayo test, of claims directed to determining whether received packets belong to a particular “conversational flow.” Packet Intelligence LLC v. NetScout Systems, Inc., No. 2019-2041 (July 14, 2020) (precedential) (appeal from the Eastern District of Texas; Judge Gilstrap). Judge Reyna, concurring in the court’s opinion on a host of other issues, dissented with respect to § 101 validity, saying that the patent claims were directed to an abstract idea, and that the case should have been remanded to the District Court for further analysis concerning a possible inventive concept under step two of the patent-eligibility test. There were three patents in suit: U.S. 6,665,725, U.S. 6,839,751, and U.S. 6,954,789. Claim 19 of the ’789 patent was discussed as representative: A packet monitor for examining packets passing through a connection point on a computer network, each packets conforming to one or… Read More »CAFC Split Favors Patent-Eligibility of Network Monitoring Claims: Packet Intelligence LLC v. NetScout Systems, Inc.

Barcode Patent Fails Alice § 101 Test: Coding Technologies, LLC v. Mississippi Power Co.

Patent claims directed to scanning a code pattern for billing information and then processing a bill based on billing information obtained thereby have been held ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the  Alice/Mayo test. In Coding Technologies, LLC v. Mississippi Power Co., No. 1:19-CV-994-LG-RHW (S.D. Miss. June 4, 2020), the court granted a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss based on § 101 invalidity of U.S. Patent No. 9,240,008. Claim 1 of the ’008 patent recites: A method comprising: receiving a payment request message including a code pattern image from a terminal, wherein the code pattern image includes billing information and is photographed by a photographing unit in the terminal; analyzing the code pattern image to obtain code information corresponding to the code pattern image obtaining user information and billing information corresponding to the code information in reference of billing database, and processing payment of a bill based on the billing information and user information. The court took as its first task, under Alice step one, to determine “the basic thrust” of the ’008 patent claims. Determining “that the claims are directed to the use of a barcode on a mobile device to facilitate or effectuate bill payment,” the court then… Read More »Barcode Patent Fails Alice § 101 Test: Coding Technologies, LLC v. Mississippi Power Co.

Patent Claims to 3D Virtual Environment Held Ineligible at Pleadings Stage: Barbaro Technologies, LLC v. Niantic Inc.

Patent claims directed to a 3D virtual game environment were held ineligible on a Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the  Alice/Mayo test. Barbaro Technologies, LLC v. Niantic Inc., Case No. 18-cv-02955-RS (N.D. Cal. May 21, 2020). The plaintiff had alleged that defendants infringed claims of two patents, US Patent 7,373,377 and US Patent 8,228,325. Asserted claims of the ’325 patent were held ineligible. Claim 1 of the ’325 patent recites: A computer system for providing a virtual thematic environment, comprising: at least one memory having at least one program comprising the steps of: retrieving information for utilization with a three-dimensional virtual thematic environment, from external sources over the internet, said information including a real-world geographic location of a user within said three-dimensional virtual thematic environment; and integrating said information into the three-dimensional virtual thematic environment, such that the three-dimensional virtual thematic environment includes said real-world geographic location displayed to the user as said three-dimensional virtual thematic environment; wherein the user interacts with the three-dimensional virtual thematic environment as a simulated real-world interaction, depending on the user’s geographical three-dimensional movement through the three-dimensional virtual thematic environment; and at least one processor for running… Read More »Patent Claims to 3D Virtual Environment Held Ineligible at Pleadings Stage: Barbaro Technologies, LLC v. Niantic Inc.

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 field for polling at least one secondary station. The district court held claims of the ’049 patent ineligible as “directed to the abstract idea of ‘additional polling in a wireless communication system,’” without a saving inventive concept, by analogizing to “data manipulation claims” found ineligible in Two-Way Media Ltd. v.… Read More »Uniloc Communications System Patent Survives § 101 Challenge Based on Technical Improvement: Uniloc USA, Inc. v. LG Electronics USA, Inc.

Federal Circuit Affirms § 101 Ineligibility of Set-Top Box Advertising Claims: Customedia Techs., LLC v. Dish Network Corp.

Claims of two patents directed to “data management and on-demand rental and purchase of digital data products,” e.g., selling advertising to be displayed via a set-top box, recites patent-ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice/Mayo test, held the Federal Circuit in Customedia Techs., LLC v. Dish Network Corp., No. 2018-2239 (March 6, 2020) (precedential). The Federal Circuit, in an opinion by Judge Moore, joined by Chief Judge Prost and Judge Dyk, affirmed the PTAB’s final written decisions, in Covered Business Method Review proceedings, of ineligibility of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,719,090 and 9,053,494. Claim 1 of the ’090 patent recites: 1.  A data delivery system for providing automatic delivery of multimedia data products from one or more multimedia data product providers, the system comprising: a remote account transaction server for providing multimedia data products to an end user, at least one of the multimedia data products being specifically identified advertising data; and a programmable local receiver unit for interfacing with the remote account transaction server to receive one or more of the multimedia data products and for processing and automatically recording the multimedia data products, said programmable local receiver unit including at least one individually controlled and reserved advertising… Read More »Federal Circuit Affirms § 101 Ineligibility of Set-Top Box Advertising Claims: Customedia Techs., LLC v. Dish Network Corp.

Patent Claims to Virtual Smartphone for Automobile Fail Alice Test: KCG Technologies, LLC v. CarMax Auto Superstores, Inc.

Claims directed to a virtual smartphone that could be displayed on a vehicle touchscreen are patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the two-part Mayo/Alice patent-eligibility test, held the court in KCG Technologies, LLC v. CarMax Auto Superstores, Inc. The court thus granted the defendants’ Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Claim 1 of U.S. Patent No. 9,671,955 recites: A virtual smart phone, comprising: a screen mounted in an automobile; a processor, a non-transitory memory, and a power port mounted in the automobile; a software application executing on the processor to control image display on the screen and emulate features of a handheld device; a visual representation of a plurality of features of the handheld device on the screen; and an interactive element, wherein the interactive element allows access to the plurality of features of the handheld device, wherein the plurality of features of the handheld device comprises volume control, messages, phone call, email, internet browser, music player, calendar, Global Positioning System, contacts, and maps. Claim 3, the other independent claim of the ’955 patent, is a method claim of similar scope. The court did not find these claims challenging to analyze; the first sentence of the court’s discussion summarized its finding under… Read More »Patent Claims to Virtual Smartphone for Automobile Fail Alice Test: KCG Technologies, LLC v. CarMax Auto Superstores, Inc.

Organizing Security System Display Data Survives Patent-Eligibility Challenge

Proving that application of the Mayo/Alice patent-eligibility test remains unpredictable and inconsistent, patent claims directed to a security system that monitors “premises using a graphical floor plan” have survived a motion for summary judgment brought under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Applied Capital, Inc. v. ADT Corp., 1:16-CV-00815 (D. N.M. August 7, 2019). U.S. Patent Nos. 8,378,817 and  9,728,082, in a priority chain and having a common specification, were both entitled, and directed to, a “Premises Monitoring System.” Claim 1 of the ’817 patent is representative: A method comprising: receiving one or more signals containing a device identifier and a device condition from one or more remote alarm monitoring systems; retrieving enhanced information based on the device identifier and the device condition; determining one or more communication methods and communication destinations based on the device identifier and the device condition; and dispatching the enhanced information to the one or more communication destinations using the one or more communication methods; and wherein the retrieving enhanced information based on the device identifier and the device condition comprises retrieving images based on the device identifier and the device condition, the images comprising all of the members selected from the group consisting of superimposed visual… Read More »Organizing Security System Display Data Survives Patent-Eligibility Challenge

Factual Dispute Precludes Summary Judgment on Alice / § 101 Motion

Finding that competing expert declarations raised a factual question concerning whether claims recited an inventive concept, a  Delaware magistrate judge found that a summary judgment motion for invalidity of claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,490,123 under 35 USC § 101 and the Mayo/Alice test should be denied. S.I.SV.EL. Societa ltaliana per lo Sviluppo Dell’Elettronica S.p.A v. Rhapsody International Inc., Civil Action No. 18-69-MN-CJB (March 12, 2019). A defense expert said that there was no novelty in an ordered combination recited in the claims, and the plaintiff’s expert said there was. This was enough for the court to deny the summary judgment motion. The ’123 patent is directed to “generating a user profile on the basis of playlists.” Representative claim 1 recites: A method of generating a user profile for a given user from at least one first playlist including a first sequence of content and being associated with the given user and stored on a media device, said method comprising: automatically searching for the at least one first playlist among a plurality of playlists, wherein the plurality of playlists includes at least one of a second playlist and a third playlist, wherein the second playlist has a second sequence of… Read More »Factual Dispute Precludes Summary Judgment on Alice / § 101 Motion

Network Monitoring Patents Fail Alice Test, Says Delaware’s Judge Stark

Two patents directed to monitoring network response times to determine responsiveness of network services are invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice/Mayo test, held Judge Stark in the District of Delaware. Citrix Systems, Inc. v. AVI Networks, Inc., No. 17-1843-LPS (D. Del. Feb 13, 2019). Accordingly, the court granted a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss claims of infringement of US Patent Nos. 8,230,055 and 7,720,954. The court found that claims of the ’055 and ’954 patents “are directed to the abstract idea of using a dynamic response time to determine availability.” The patents distinguish themselves from the prior art by explaining that the dynamic determination of response time, taking “into account variations due to increased load or type of request,” was more accurate than prior art methods that determined availability using static response times. Thus, in the words of the court, “the claimed innovation is the use of one formula (determining availability using an average response time) instead of another, prior art formula (determining availability using a predetermined response time) with the same arrangement of computer components.” By focusing on “the use of an ostensibly improved formula,” the court said, “the claims are directed to an abstract idea.” The court rejected… Read More »Network Monitoring Patents Fail Alice Test, Says Delaware’s Judge Stark

Patent-Eligibility Not Supported by an Ordered Combination of Generic Technology Elements

Patent claims reciting “buying and selling an item relating to unique subjects” unsurprisingly could not meet the patent-eligibility bar of 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice/Mayo test when the patent owner appealed a lower court’s Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal. VOIT Technologies, LLC v. Del-Ton, Inc., No. 2018-1536 (Fed. Cir. Feb 8, 2019) (non-precedential). The trial court had found the claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,226,412 directed to the abstract idea of buying and selling products without an additional inventive concept. The Federal’s circuit agreed. Turning first to part one of the applicable patent-eligibility test, whether the claims are directed to an abstract idea, the court stated that the claims of the ’412 patent are directed to the abstract idea of entering, transmitting, locating, compressing, storing, and displaying data (including text and image data) to facilitate the buying and selling of items. Like claims in Electric Power Group, LLC v. Alstom S.A. (Fed. Cir. 2016), the court said,the claims here are merely directed to collecting, analyzing, and displaying information. These claims did not improve the functioning of a computer as in Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp. (Fed. Cir. 2016). The patent owner could not “explain how employing different formats, as claimed, improves compression techniques or the… Read More »Patent-Eligibility Not Supported by an Ordered Combination of Generic Technology Elements