Posts Tagged: "Alice"

Surviving Alice: Counseling the Client

In accordance with the above discussion, particularly point (a), the client should be apprised of the necessity of fully fleshing out the inventive aspects of the technical implementation (i.e. the fuzzy logic). The client, however, may not know what the technical implementation is or what technical problems may need to be overcome. At this point, there may be no harm in filing a provisional patent application to capture the earliest priority date for the client. The next step under point (b) is to work with the client to develop a plan for implementation. Actual technical implementation can be expensive, but it is a very effective way to reveal technical problems that have to be solved. Technical implementation always (in our humble experience) reveals unforeseen technical problems. At some point, what is readily available may need to be modified or customized to serve the specific needs of the new business application, particularly as that application is scaled up. This is where patentable innovation occurs.

Federal Circuit rules Alice did not alter the law governing 101

How the Federal Circuit could rule that Alice did not change the law governing § 101 is a bit of a mystery. Applying the same two-step test seems a convenient way of dodging reality. At a time when there is real momentum gathering for a legislative solution to § 101 why did the Federal Circuit choose to perpetuate a myth that Alice did nothing to change the law? Outcomes are unquestionably different as the result of Alice, and if outcomes are different how exactly is it possible that the law did not change? If the law remained the same why was Alice a clear pivotal moment in software patent history? Saying Alice did not change the law shows just how out of touch and insulated from reality the Federal Circuit has become.

The CAFC Split Non-precedential Decision in Exergen v. Kaz Raises Interesting Issues About Eligibility Determinations

In Exergen Corporation v. Kaz USA, No. 16-2315 (March 8, 2018), the Federal Circuit, in a split non-precedential opinion, affirmed a holding that Exergen’s claims directed to methods and apparatuses for detecting core body temperature were directed to patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101… The majority held that the district court did not clearly err in finding that it was unconventional to use temperature scanning technology to measure arterial temperature beneath the skin… Judge Hughes dissented, arguing that the majority erred by relying on the natural law in determining inventiveness at step two… Judge Hughes seems to suggest that the correct step-two inquiry should be whether, assuming the natural phenomenon were known, it would have been conventional to combine that phenomenon with existing technology to practice the asserted claims.

IP Due Diligence for Start-ups in the 2018 Legal Environment – The Most Important Conversation

For IP due diligence for investment in a start-up or young company, the most important conversation is with the key developer(s) of the product(s) or service(s) [the “Conversation”].  Ideally, the Conversation is led by an IP attorney who understands the technology.  The goal is to determine the source of the product design.  Was open source software used?  Is this a variation of something an engineer was working on at a prior company?  Was a published article used?  Perhaps consultants were used?  Was the design changed during development after some dead-ends?  Where there isn’t budget for a full-fledged investigation, this Conversation and follow-up will likely get 80% of the risks identified for 20% of the cost.

Federal Circuit Decisions Breathe New Life Into Alice Responses by Patent Prosecutors

While most commentary to date has focused on the implications for litigation, two recent Federal Circuit decisions have promising implications for patent prosecutors struggling to overcome conclusory rejections that claims lack subject matter eligibility.  Since Alice and the subsequent interim guidance by the U.S. Patent Office, one aspect of subject matter eligibility determinations that has frustrated patent prosecutors has been the fact-free, conclusory analysis commonly provided.  However, the Federal Circuit’s February decisions in Berkheimer and Aatrix conflict with the Patent Office’s guidance that “judicial notice” fact-finding is sufficient for subject matter eligibility rejections, and the substantial evidence standard applicable to administrative fact-finding during examination does not comport with the underlying “examiner expertise” rationale for that guidance.

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.”

Why Patent Contingency Litigation is Declining?

Contingency representation is monetarily feasible for attorneys and law firms if and only if there is a high likelihood of success. Even in the best case scenario attorneys will sometimes make bad judgment calls when taking a contingency case, but when the underlying asset is under attack — as patents have been — it makes it all the more difficult to justify the risk of putting in all that work and ultimately receiving nothing in return.

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.

Unlocking the Value in Software Patents

Alice has had an impact on software patents, but they still hold significant value. If your portfolio includes software patents, there will be times when you want to extract value from that portion of your portfolio. As with any patent, there are three key criteria that must be applied when determining value: is it being used, is its use economically significant, and can that use be proven. Join Gene Quinn for a discussion about how to unlock the value of software patents in light of Alice.

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.”

Bed Bath and Beyond Wins Nearly $1 Million in Attorneys’ Fees for Defending Meritless Claims

In Inventor Holdings, LLC v. Bed Bath & Beyond, Inc., the Federal Circuit affirmed an award of attorneys’ fees in the lower court because “following the Alice decision, IH’s claims were objectively without merit.”  Alice issued two months after the filing of suit.

Changes in Patent Language to Ensure Eligibility Under Alice

When a rule becomes a target, it ceases to be a good rule.  In the three years since the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Alice, there have been positive changes to patent applications, but there remains a long-term risk that patent practitioners will use tricks to beat the Alice test.  Here, we focus on the changes to patent applications by drafters, as well as changes to patent applications that have issued since Alice… Previous analyses have reported that patent specification length has been increasing since long before 2010. As shown in Figure 3, from 2010 to 2013, the average patent application length was approximately 12,417 words. However, from 2015 and 2017, the average patent application length increased to over 14,700 words… Alice appears to have resulted in positive developments, such as narrowing the scope of claims and increasing disclosure of technical benefits of inventions in the specification.

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.

Importance of Motions to Stay in Modern Patent Litigation

The TC Heartland decision follows the trend of eroding patent holder rights due to the potential for infringers to more easily move the lawsuit to a more favorable forum and in some cases have the issues of infringement and discovery for same stayed for a year or more.  As patents and mechanisms to enforce patents become weaker, the high-tech economy of Northern California will begin to diminish as foreign companies encounter fewer obstacles in their way to compete against companies with weaker IP rights… Because so much hinges on a stay motion in modern patent litigation cases, this predominant statistic influences where plaintiffs should consider filing their patent complaint.