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.