Posts Tagged: "Alice v. CLS Bank"

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.

Smart Systems decision a sad reminder of deleterious state of U.S. patent eligibility law

The Federal Circuit evidences a great deal of myopia to declare that these patents are not directed to a technological advance, even if they can string together citations that seem to support their sterilized findings. Shouldn’t it seem self evident in 2017 that an open payment system for processing fares on a mass transit system is a technological advance? Shouldn’t it also be equally self evident that there is nothing abstract about the tangible device used by a person who is admitted to a subway through an open payment system? And it’s hard to miss the financial reality that the funds actually do change hands and the fare is paid, isn’t it? And while the app itself may be intangible (i.e., not touchable), but the effects on commerce are very real and extremely valuable, in fact one could argue that the effects on commerce are so significant that they are enabling. By and through this innovation commerce is enabled in an efficient and transparent manner through an immediate arms length negotiation in real time. Of course it should be self evident in the digital age we find ourselves in in this 21st century economy that such an immediately enabled commercial transaction is anything but abstract, such transactions make the entire marketplace work. Indeed, so significant was this technology that Chicago Transit is paying an infringer for the service.

Federal Circuit says computer memory system claims patent eligible, not abstract

The majority determined that the patent claims drawn to a computer memory system did not cover an abstract idea and, therefore, the second step of the Alice test was an unnecessary inquiry… “Our review of the ’740 patent claims demonstrates that they are directed to an improved computer memory system, not to the abstract idea of categorical data storage,” Judge Stoll wrote. “The specification explains that multiple benefits flow from the ’740 patent’s improved memory system.”

Testing a Patent Claim against an Abstract Idea, in Response to 35 USC §101 Rejection

One promising approach is to argue that the claims are directed to a specific technological solution to a specific technological problem, as has been successful in the courts. But, even this may not be convincing, if argued in the abstract, because, after all, we are dealing with abstract ideas to begin with, and it is all too easy for an examiner to dismiss an abstract argument as “not convincing”. A concrete, bright line test can be constructed, which may sway an examiner (or appeal board, if the rejection is appealed). Articulate a specific technological problem that the claims solve or are directed to solving. Analyze the claim and cite some of the important claim limitations that are not present in the alleged abstract idea, and explain the significance of these claim limitations in terms of the technological problem and technological solution.

Is being called a ‘patent troll’ defamatory? NH inventor files suit against banking industry to find out

In a New Hampshire State Superior Court, this so-called ‘patent troll’ has decided to fight back. Automated Transactions and Dave Barcelou have filed a defamation complaint against the crème de la crème of those deemed “too big to fail” and who many might consider to be too big to defeat… The minute Barcelou was able to enforce his patented technologies in court, winning a sizable settlement from the biggest bank in his hometown of Buffalo, NY, a veritable “Who’s Who” of the financial services leaders joined forces to destroy both Barcelou and his company economically. Besides encouraging one another to ignore Automated Transaction’s demand letters, false and misleading statements started to appear in prominent business publications, which went so far as to say the company had purchased its patents, or alternatively, that the patents were invalid. Over time a unified battle cry arose from the ‘poor little community banks’ he allegedly targeted; “He’s nothing but a patent troll.”

Do You Know How to Protect What’s Yours?

In the wake of recent judicial and legislative developments, protecting “what’s yours” has become even more complex. Many businesses and intellectual property lawyers have appropriately favored a strategy focused on obtaining patents when available to protect intellectual assets. However, in recent years there have been unprecedented changes to the American patent system… Developments in patent law have caused owners of intellectual capital to evaluate all available means for its protection including considering when appropriate the protection of innovations as trade secrets.

Revising Section 101 of the Patent Act: What’s at Stake?

These revisions favor patent owners, according to Palmer, but not everyone is supportive. For instance, Bilski, Mayo, Myriad, and Alice have given several accused infringers an additional tool for fighting non-practicing entities. So. the level of support for these revisions will depend where you fall on this spectrum. That being said, Palmer does not think the Court will change its eligibility analysis in the foreseeable future, and Congress is not likely to take up these anytime soon.

Is there a Tide-Change in the Prospects of Patenting Business Method Innovations?

In the years after the Alice decision, it had seemed as though examiners in the business method art units felt as though their hands were tied with respect to issuing applications. Even if they had recommended an application for allowance, it was often sent back by quality review with an indication that a patent-eligibility rejection should be made or maintained. However, in early 2017 – at least with respect to a handful of applications – examiners’ perspectives seem to have changed, where they were more willing to work with the applicants to find eligible claim material and/or suitable arguments to be put on the record that would suffice for an allowance… While we note that the business method allowance prospects still remain substantially below those in other Technology Centers, the beyond-doubling of this statistic is of practical significance.

Alice Who? Over Half the U.S. Utility Patents Issued Annually are Software Related!

I have always argued that software patent eligibility is a must in a country where patent rights are guaranteed by the Constitution. That is, all fields of innovation should be treated equally under the law such that one field of endeavor (e.g., pharmaceuticals or electronics) is not deemed more “patent worthy” than other fields (i.e., computer science and information technology). This is especially true when one considers how important software is to the U.S. economy… A substantial amount of U.S. commerce is software-dependent and the associated innovation in the field – when novel and non-obvious – deserves stable and predictable patent law protection!

Ex Parte Appeal Oral Hearings: Making Your Case Right Before Decision Time

This data set shows that Oral Hearings are rarely conducted. (See Figure 1.) Across the 72,443 appeals, only 459 (0.63%) appeals had an Oral Hearing… As shown in Figure 4, Oral Hearings were associated with more full-rejection reversals (blue bars). Specifically, the full reversals accounted for 40.3% of the appeals with Oral Hearings, as compared to 32.5% of the appeals without Oral Hearings.

In precedential decision, Federal Circuit rules patent directed to encoding and decoding image data is not patent-eligible

The Federal Circuit held that the claim was directed to the abstract idea of encoding and decoding image data. According to the panel, the claim recited “a method whereby a user displays images on a first display, assigns image codes to the images through an interface using a mathematical formula, and then reproduces the image based on the codes… This method reflects standard encoding and decoding, an abstract concept long utilized to transmit information.” The Federal Circuit went on to note under step one that RecogniCorp’s Claim 1 differed from the invention in Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp., 822 F.3d 1327 (Fed. Cir. 2016) because, unlike Enfish’s invention, Claim 1 did not recite a software method that improved the functioning of a computer but instead recited a process “for which computers are invoked merely as a tool.”

Putting Words in the Mouth of McRO: The PTO Memorandum of November 2, 2016

The USPTO Memorandum of November 2, 2016 as to Recent Subject Matter Eligibility Decisions (“USPTO Memo”) inappropriately attributes the phrase “computer-related technology” to McRO, Inc. dba Planet Blue v. Bandai Namco Games America Inc., 120 USPQ2d 1091 (Fed. Cir. 2016). The phrase “computer-related technology” does not appear in McRO or even in Alice Corp. Pty Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014); rather, it appears in Enfish, LLC, v. Microsoft Corp., 822 F.3d 1327 (Fed Cir. 2016) and only after Enfish appropriately cites Alice.

Sections 101 and 112: Eligibility, Patentability, or Somewhere in Between?

Sections 101 and 112 provide their own separate limitations to the scope of patent protection in ways that are sometimes complimentary and sometimes contradictory… Inventors are motivated to maximize the breadth of their claims. But they may seek to do so by employing imprecise claim language. Both §§ 101 and 112 corral this behavior, although in slightly different ways. Section 101 safeguards against claims that are too abstract or overbroad to be patentable, being concerned with claims that would “wholly pre-empt” any other use of an inventive concept, thereby foreclosing independent innovations or application. Bilski, 561 U.S. at 610 (quotation omitted). Section 112 protects against claims that are not completely and functionally disclosed within the patent specification ensuring that patentees cannot claim more than what they have invented – and shared with the public.

Doc’s Orders: Analogize to Overcome Patent Eligibility Rejections

Taking a hint from what has worked before can give patent prosecutors an advantage. The question is then how to find such examples for use in forming arguments and claim amendments to address Alice v. CLS Bank rejections…. If you happen to face an Alice v. CLS Bank rejection or are sorted into an art unit that experiences a high volume of Alice v. CLS Bank rejections, consulting the prosecution history of successful cases in Public PAIR can prove fruitful for identifying analogous claim limitations and arguments that may help stimulate your thinking in forming a successful strategy for patentability.

Congress Needs to Act So Alice Doesn’t Live Here (in the Patent System) Anymore

The impact of Alice has been just what one would expect. The decisions of the USPTO examining corps, USPTO Patent Trial & Appeal Board, and lower courts have been wildly inconsistent. Far too many worthy inventions are being lost. Perhaps worse, the predictability innovators and investors in research and development require to effectively navigate the patent system has been eliminated. Change is sorely needed and overdue.