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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,…

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CAFC Affirms Rejections of Computer Product-by-Process Claim

The Federal’s circuit has affirmed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decision in turn affirming a patent examiner’s rejections under 35 U.S.C. § 101 for lack of patent-eligibility, and under 35 U.S.C. § 112 for lack of written description and indefiniteness, of a product-by-process claim directed to “a resource planning forecast product.” In re Downing, No. 2018-1795 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 7, 2018) (non-presidential). The only independent claim at issue reads as follows (emphases provided by the court): 1. A resource planning forecast product operable in a computer and recorded on a non-transitory computer-readable medium for retrieval interlinking non-business or business information relevant to the end user without mandatory reliance on a network or another computer file or Internet access to operate wherein the product is produced by the processes of: (a) designing a diffusion-based proprietary forecasting technique on an Excel computer platform for operation within a resource planning framework to: (1) simplify forecasting initialization…

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Functional Claiming Can Spell Patent-Eligibility Doom

Granting a Rule 12 motion to dismiss, a court held patent-ineligible, under the Alice abstract idea test and 35 U.S.C. § 101, a patent claim that recited “determining automatically an optimal exposure level.”  SungKyunKwan University v. LMI Technologies USA Inc., Case No. 16-cv-06966-VC (N.D. Cal. May 3, 2017).  Claim 1 of U.S. Patent No. 7,957,639 “recite[d] a solution to a problem but not the means of achieving it,” and such claims are “not drawn to patent-eligible subject matter,” explained the court.  Claim 1 of the ’639 patent recites in full: A method for determining an optimal exposure of a structured light based three dimensional (3D) camera system including a projecting means for illuminating a predetermined pattern on a target object, an image capturing means for capturing an image of the target object with the pattern projected, and a processing means for reconstructing 3D data based on the captured image, wherein…

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