Posts Tagged: "Alice-Mayo Framework"

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.

Blackbird Technologies to Appeal Ineligibility Ruling in Cloudflare Patent Infringement Litigation

“One thing that I find curious is that Cloudflare claims to have 150 patent assets on the same type of technology,” Verlander said. Such assets include U.S. Patent No. 9342620, titled Loading of Web Resources, and U.S. Patent No. 9369437, entitled Internet-Based Proxy Method to Modify Internet Responses. “It seems to me that Cloudflare should be quite concerned. If the technology covered by the ‘335 patent isn’t patent-eligible, all of Cloudflare’s patent assets may be worthless and I imagine that their investors must be worried about that. They may have won the battle but they could lose the war because if they’re correct, competitors could jump right into the market and copy Cloudflare’s technology.”

Is there a Light at the End of the Alice Tunnel?

Maybe I’m being too optimistic. But in a pair of decisions issued within a week of each other, Berkheimer v. HP and Aatrix Software v. Green Shades, the Federal Circuit just vacated two patent ineligibility determinations… And if you think these declarations are too good to be true, take a look at the decisions, both drafted by Judge Moore. Both are in the software field… The Court held that the district court erred in granting summary judgment of ineligibility with respect to some of Berkheimer’s claims… In Aatrix Software v. Green Shades, the Court vacated a Rule 12 dismissal for lack of patent eligibility.

Revised MPEP May Provide New Tools in Alice Rejections

The MPEP requires that “[i]n particular, the initial burden is on the examiner to explain why a claim or claims are ineligible for patenting clearly and specifically, so that applicant has sufficient notice and is able to effectively respond.” MPEP § 2106.07. In examining under Step 2A, “the rejection should identify the judicial exception by referring to what is recited (i.e., set forth or described) in the claim and explain why it is considered an exception.” Id. Specifically, “if the claim is directed to an abstract idea, the rejection should identify the abstract idea as it is recited (i.e., set forth or described) in the claim and explain why it corresponds to a concept that the courts have identified as an abstract idea.” MPEP § 2106.07(a) (emphasis added). USPTO policy instructs that “[c]iting to an appropriate court decision that supports the identification of the subject matter recited in the claim language as an abstract idea is a best practice that will advance prosecution.”

Federal Circuit says Claims for Summarizing Information are Not Abstract

The Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of LG‘s motion for summary judgment that various claims of Core’s patents were directed to patent ineligible subject matter under Section 101. The Court also affirmed the district court’s denial of LG’s motions for judgment as a matter of law that the claims were anticipated and not infringed… The concept of summarizing information can be patent eligible (not abstract) when specifically applied to improving the efficiency of the electronic device, as in a “particular manner of summarizing and presenting information in electronic devices.”

Claims not directed to abstract results when reciting specific steps that accomplish a desired result

According to the Federal Circuit, The claims simply do not simply recite an abstract result. Because the claims recite specific steps that accomplish a desired result, the the claims were found to be directed to a non-abstract improvement in computer functionality, not an abstract concept of computer security. Nevertheless, the Federal Circuit said the jury verdict of infringement relative to the ’968 patent should be set aside because there is no evidence that the accused product includes a feature claimed in the patent. Several errors were identified with respect to the royalty calculation of the ‘844 patent, which the Federal Circuit remanded to the trial court for further consideration. For the ’731 and ’633 patents, Finjan’s expert did apportion the revenues comprising the royalty base between infringing and non-infringing functionality of Proxy SG. The jury’s damages awards for infringement of these two patents were affirmed.

Federal Circuit says Finjan virus-screening method not abstract, is patent eligible

In Finjan, Inc. v. Blue Coat Systems, Inc., the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently affirmed-in-part, reversed-in-part, and remanded the case to the district court. Notably, however, the Federal Circuit found no error in the district court’s subject matter eligibility determination, meaning the claims of Finjan’s ‘844 patent were patent eligible under 35 U.S.C. 101. Perhaps more remarkable, the claims of the ‘844 patent relate to virus-screening and were determined to be not abstract. Still more remarkable, the author of this Federal Circuit decision was Judge Dyk, who is not know as a zealous advocate for software patent eligibility.

Patent-Ineligibility of Medical Diagnostics, Life Sciences Discoveries Arrests U.S. Progress

In a research project funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), evidence emerged that a higher expression of the GIRK1 protein in malignant tissue samples was linked to higher relapse and mortality rates in breast cancer patients who have gone through surgery. The novel use of the GIRK1 protein as a biomarker could have a great impact on breast cancer diagnostics and treatments and further research could yield more discovery on the interdependence of GIRK1 with other important biological pathways critical to cancer management… Unfortunately, discovery of GIRK1 as a biomarker for breast cancer diagnostics would run into 35 U.S.C. § 101, the basic threshold statute for determining patentability of subject matter, under the Supreme Court’s March 2012 ruling in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. In that case, the Court held that processes involving correlations between blood test results and patient health is not patent-eligible subject matter because the process incorporates laws of nature. This would seemingly render any processes involving the application of GIRK1 as a biomarker for breast cancer prognoses unpatentable as well as the expression of GIRK1 occurs naturally.

Federal Circuit Curtails Alice: Economic arrangements using generic computer technology ‘significant, if not determinative’

On December 8, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Inventor Holdings, LLC v. Bed Bath & Beyond, Inc. (2016-2442) that provides some useful language to practitioners dealing with patent ineligibility rejections having Alice as their basis… “Like the claims at issue in Mortgage Grader, the [claims at issue] are directed to an ‘economic arrangement’ implemented using ‘generic computer technology.’ These issues were significant, if not determinative, of the Court’s holding in Alice.”

Software Patent Eligibility at the Federal Circuit 2017

If there was a theme that emerged in 2017 it is the necessity to have what is specifically innovative disclosed in the claims. While not a particularly new concept, there were cases in 2017 where the Federal Circuit acknowledged that a patent eligible innovation may well have been disclosed in the specification, but which was not found in the claims. With many legacy software patents the description of the technology (if one actually existed) was only in the specification while the claims were written to be quite broad. The Federal Circuit requires both a thick technical description of the innovation and why it is an improvement (see Enfish) and incorporation of what is innovative into the claims… What follows picks up where my 2016 article left off and provides summary and analysis of the notable software patent eligibility cases decided by the Federal Circuit in 2017.

Surviving Alice: Sufficient Inventive Concept Must be in Claim, Not Specification

In Two-Way Media Ltd v. Comcast Cable Communs., LLC, (Opinion for the court, Reyna, J.), the Federal Circuit affirmed a district court decision finding four patents owned by Two-Way Media were directed to ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Claim 1 of the ‘187 patent was representative of the ‘187 and ‘005 patents, and described a method for transmitting message packets over a communications network, like the Internet… For claims directed to judicial exceptions under § 101, a patent cannot identify a sufficient inventive concept solely in the specification and survive the Alice inquiry; the inventive concept must be found in the claims themselves in order to transform the nature of the claims into a patent-eligible application.

Patent battle over generic Inomax leaves five Mallinckrodt patents invalid as naturally occurring phenomenon

A memorandum signed by Judge Sleet shows that Mallinckrodt’s patents were invalidated under the Section 101 patentability standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012’s Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., a standard affirmed by SCOTUS’ 2014 decision in Alice Corporation v. CLS Bank International. Applying the two-step test for Section 101 patentability, the Delaware court found that the Mallinckrodt patents covered natural phenomenon which did not include an inventive step. The court found that patent claim limitations directed at echocardiography or severe adverse reactions did not satisfy the inventive concept step. “It does not matter what the severe adverse reaction is,” Judge Sleet’s memo reads. “Any reaction to treatment with iNO will be a natural phenomenon, dictated by the patient’s physiological response to the drug.”

A Software Patent Discussion with Matt Levy

It is probably fair to say that Matt Levy’s views are contrary to mine with respect to many patent related matters, but particularly so with respect to software patents… One of the things I have always liked about Levy is that while we do disagree about much, we do so in a way that is not disagreeable. I also greatly appreciate how he always tries to work with me to figure out at what point in our analysis we go separate ways, which leads to some very interesting and lively conversations (as you might imagine)… Recently we were swapping e-mails and something came up that I found particularly intriguing. I told him I thought we really need to take this on the record and he agreed. What follows is our conversation.

The coupling of § 101 and § 112, and what it means for patent practitioners

A recent opinion by the Federal Circuit suggests that there will be considerable uncertainty about the respective boundaries of §§ 101 and 112 in the years ahead. In Trading Technologies Intl. Inc. v. CQG, Inc., Judge Newman wrote on behalf of a unanimous panel, following up on her concurrence in Bascom… Of particular interest is her continued endorsement of a flexible approach to § 101 and the traditional measures of patentability, such as § 112. Judge Newman wrote that the “threshold level of eligibility is often usefully explored by way of the substantive statutory criteria of patentability,” and that this approach is in harmony with the Supreme Court’s reasoning in in Alice.

Have We Gone Too Far to Eradicate Weak Patents?

Asking whether the industry has gone too far to eradicate weak patents misses the point entirely, and to some extent will allow those who want the patent system to continue its march off the cliff to inappropriately claim the moral high ground. Regardless of how you prefer to characterize problem patents, whether it be as weak, bad, low quality, or invalid, no one wants those problematic patents to issue or be used to harass individuals or businesses as they sometimes have been used by bad actors. But that begs the real question. In an attempt to eradicate the system from those problematic patents have things gotten out of control and, thereby caused collateral damage in an indiscriminate way to all patents, including high quality, strong patents? To that question the answer must be a resounding yes!