Posts Tagged: "abstract ideas"

Revised Patent Eligibility Guidance Effectively Defines What is an Abstract Idea

In essence, by narrowly identifying certain subject matter groups as being those that properly qualify for characterization as abstract ideas the USPTO is effectively defining what is and what is not an abstract idea, thereby filling a void intentionally left ambiguous by both the Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit. It has been frustrating — to say the least — that courts have refused to define the term abstract idea despite that being the critical term in the Supreme Court’s extra-statutory patent eligibility test. Without a definition for the term abstract idea rulings have been nothing short of subjective; some would even say arbitrary and capricious.

Alleged Due Process, APA Violations by PTAB Rule 36ed by Federal Circuit

Federal Circuit issued a Rule 36 summary judgment in Chart Trading Development, LLC v. Interactive Brokers LLC, affirming the invalidation of patent claims owned by Chart Trading in covered business method (CBM) proceedings instituted at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). In issuing the summary affirmance of the PTAB, the Federal Circuit panel of Circuit Judges Pauline Newman, S. Jay Plager and Kimberly Moore declined the opportunity to comment on Chart Trading’s arguments on the PTAB’s alleged due process violations by changing the construction of a key term in its final written decision… If the government can award a franchise and that franchise can be taken away in a manner that violates the APA, what is the point in seeking the government franchise in the first place? If the Court charged with making sure the agency that strips government franchises is following the rules is going to decide cases of such importance with only one word — Affirmed — one has to question whether a government franchise is at all a worthwhile pursuit.

Supremes Deny 101 Appeal Dealing with Electronic Data and Electromagnetic Signals

On Monday, December 3rd, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for writ of certiorari in Carl M. Burnett v. Panasonic Corporation, declining to take up the case on appeal from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. This is now the latest case involving questions of patent-eligibility for an invention under 35 U.S.C. § 101 declined by the nation’s highest court. In this case, however, the Supreme Court hasn’t addressed the patentability of the relevant subject matter, namely electronic data and electromagnetic analog and digital signals, since 1853.

Federal Circuit Issues Another Rule 36 Patent Eligibility Loss to a Patent Owner

This particular Rule 36 patent eligibility loss for the patent owner came in Digital Media Technologies, Inc. v. Netflix, Inc., et al., affirmed the district court’s finding that patent claims asserted by Digital Media against Netflix, Amazon and Hulu were invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 because they were directed to an abstract idea… Using Rule 36 in an area of the law as unstable, chaotic and unpredictable as patent eligibility is irresponsible. Whether the decision would be the same or not, the parties and the public have a right to have the Federal Circuit make sense ‘this § 101 conundrum.’

Does the Supreme Court even appreciate the patent eligibility chaos they created?

At the beginning of this decade the United States Supreme Court embarked on a path that would ultimately result in a significant re-writing of the law of patent eligibility in America. While this Supreme Court first became intrigued with patent eligibility in Bilski v. Kappos in 2010, it wasn’t until Mayo v. Prometheus (2012), AMP v. Myriad (2013) and Alice v. CLS Bank (2014) that the law became a chaotic mess that no longer resembled the well-established view of patent eligibility that dates back to at least the 1952 Patent Act… Is this Supreme Court really content with the subjective, extra-statutory test they have foisted upon the industry while changing the law? Does the Supreme Court even appreciate the chaos they have created?

Boston Patent Law Association Announces Support for IPO-AIPLA Section 101 Legislative Fix

The Boston Patent Law Association (BPLA) has announced its support for a proposal for a legislative fix to 35 U.S.C. § 101, the statute governing basic patentability in U.S. patent law, which was jointly offered earlier this year by the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) and the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA). The BPLA now becomes the latest patent law organization to support the proposed legislative amendment to Section 101 that is designed to address major uncertainties in patentability stemming from various cases decided in recent years by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Cardiac Monitoring Patent Invalidated Under § 101 as Patent Ineligibility

U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani of the District of Massachusetts signed an order dismissing a patent infringement suit brought by Malvern, PA-based wireless medical technology company CardioNet against Lowell, MA-based patient monitoring tech developer InfoBionic. Judge Talwani dismissed the suit after CardioNet’s asserted patent, which covers systems and techniques for monitoring cardiac activity, was found to be directed to patent-ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101… CardioNet filed a motion for leave to file a supplemental brief in support of the eligibility of the ‘207 patent arguing that the Federal Circuit’s decisions in Aatrix Software v. Green Shades Software and Berkheimer v. HP changed Section 101 precedent impacting several aspects of the district court’s patent eligibility analysis. However, Judge Talwani denied CardioNet’s motion a few days after it was filed.

Abstractness is not the malleable concept the Supreme Court thinks

If the claim is directed to an abstract idea, then abstractness is an essential property of the claimed subject matter as a whole. As such, a claim directed to an abstract idea cannot be transformed to possess non-abstractness by whether or not it embodies an inventive concept, since whether the inventive concept is inventive or not depends upon when the concept was conceived, which is an accidental property rather than an essential property of the claimed subject matter… Mayo may make sense for natural laws and physical phenomena but given the very different nature of abstract ideas the test logically falls apart when one thinks they can turn something that is by its fundamental nature abstract into something that is not abstract.

What is Director Iancu Proposing the USPTO do for §101 Analysis?

Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Andrei Iancu made some interesting remarks yesterday at the Intellectual Property Owners Association Annual Meeting in Chicago on September 24, 2018 regarding a proposal for new guidance on how the USPTO would approach determination of subject matter eligibility under §101. In the IPO meeting’s (written) remarks, Dir. Iancu speaks at length about the current confusion in the Mayo/Alice framework and how “significantly more work needs to be done, especially on the ‘abstract idea’ exception.” Director Iancu asserted that “Currently, we’re actively looking for ways to simplify the eligibility determination for our examiners through forward-looking guidance. Through our administration of the patent laws, which we are charged to execute, the USPTO can lead, not just react to, every new case the courts issue.”

Can I hold on long enough until the madness stops?

If someone told me when starting my career in 1976 that I would discover a process that has been beyond the reach of professionals and experts for over 62 years, I would have laughed.  If the same person also told me that it would be virtually impossible to protect that discovery with a patent in the United States of America, I would have been equally dismayed.  The preceding scenario is exactly what is being experienced by many inventors and me.  I am a common person who caught lightning in a bottle with an invention, only to be frustrated by the patent system in the United States and left wondering can I hold on long enough until the madness stops?

CAFC Upholds 101 Invalidation of Database Claims on Summary Judgment Despite Berkheimer

On Wednesday, August 15th, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in BSG Tech LLC v. BuySeasons, Inc. which upheld a decision by the district court to invalidate patent claims owned by BSG Tech as patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The Federal Circuit panel of Circuit Judges Jimmie Reyna, Evan Wallach and Todd Hughes found that the district court correctly determined that patent claim asserted by BSG Tech were invalid as abstract ideas lacking any inventive step under the Alice/Mayo framework… The only allegedly unconventional feature of BSG Tech’s claims was the requirement that users are guided by summary comparison usage information, which was simply a restatement of the abstract idea identified under the first step of Alice/Mayo

In an Abstract Idea Context, Little Is Unmistakably Within the Bright-line Eligibility Prohibition

It seems clear that the Supreme Court did not intend to categorically prohibit patenting of everything which can be characterized as an abstract idea at some level because the Court indicated that there are at least some abstract ideas that are sufficient to confer patent eligibility: namely, inventive concepts.  The Court’s bright-line prohibition against patenting laws of nature and mathematical formulas clearly was not intended to categorically prohibit patenting of everything which can be characterized as an abstract idea because such a bright-line extension would bar patenting of inventive concepts, which by definition are capable of characterization as abstract ideas but which the Court explicitly acknowledged are sufficient to signal eligibility.

The Implicit Exception to § 101 for Abstract Ideas Should Be Narrowly Construed

There is an alternative route is available to stay true to Supreme Court eligibility jurisprudence: Apply the Supreme Court’s standard approach of narrowly construing statutory exceptions to narrowly construe the implicit statutory exception to 35 U.S.C. § 101 for abstract ideas… In accordance with Supreme Court guidance regarding construction of statutory exceptions, the implicit statutory exception for abstract ideas should be construed “narrowly in order to preserve the primary operation of the provision” of 35 U.S.C. § 101. Clark, 489 U.S. at 739 (citing Phillips, 324 U. S. at 493).  To do otherwise would risk “frustrat[ing] the announced will of the people.” Phillips, 324 U. S. at 493.

CAFC Upholds Section 101 Invalidity Finding on Rule 12(b)(6) Motion, Nixing Patents Covering App Management

On Monday, April 9th, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the invalidity of a series of patents asserted against the American subsidiary of Japanese consumer electronics firm Funai. The patents, owned by Illinois-based Maxon, LLC, covered electronic means for improving user control over subscription entertainment content but the claimed technologies were deemed to be invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101, the basic statute governing the patentability of inventions. The decision was issued by a panel comprised of Chief Judge Sharon Prost and Circuit Judges Todd Hughes and Kara Stoll.

Law Professors Urge CAFC to Uphold Cleveland Clinic Diagnostic Method Patents

A group of six patent law professors filed an amicus brief with the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Cleveland Clinic v. True Health Diagnostics. The professors’ brief urges the Federal Circuit to reverse a finding by the lower court invalidating patents asserted by Cleveland Clinic covering diagnostic methods for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. According to the brief, the district court’s invalidation of Cleveland Clinic’s patents represents an improper application of 35 U.S.C. § 101, the basic threshold statute governing the patentability of inventions.