Posts Tagged: "patent eligible"

SCOTUS Kicks Patent Eligibility Cases to the Curb in Last Move of the Term

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied certiorari in American Axle v. Neapco Holdings, Inc., leaving it up to Congress and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to restore any semblance of clarity on U.S. patent eligibility law for now. Many expected that the Court would grant the petition after the U.S. Solicitor General in May recommended granting review. The SG’s brief said that inventions like the one at issue in American Axle have “[h]istorically…long been viewed as paradigmatic examples of the ‘arts’ or ‘processes’ that may receive patent protection if other statutory criteria are satisfied” and that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit “erred in reading this Court’s precedents to dictate a contrary conclusion.”

USPTO Report Underscores Split on State of U.S. Patent Eligibility Jurisprudence

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has published its study on patent eligibility jurisprudence in response to a March 2021 request from Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Chris Coons (D-DE). The study, titled “Patent eligible subject matter: Public views on the current jurisprudence in the United States,” is based on more than 140 comments received following a USPTO request of July 9, 2021, and unsurprisingly concluded that many (mostly larger) high-tech and computer-related companies like the current state of the law; life sciences, startups and SMEs do not; but everyone agrees that consistency, clarity and predictability are needed. The study did not make any recommendations, and indicated that the Office will be continuing to solicit feedback via listening sessions and written comments and that it is also broadening the scope of stakeholders it reaches out to.

Conflicting Precedent for the Supreme Court in American Axle

The U.S. Department of Justice is encouraging the Supreme Court to grant certiorari to American Axle to clarify U.S. patent eligibility law. Thus, it appears that the chances are better than ever for this issue to get some much-needed attention…. After more than one year of waiting, the Justice Department filed their amicus brief on May 24, 2022. The Solicitor unequivocally stated that the Federal Circuit’s holding that the ‘911 claims are patent ineligible “is incorrect,” and that the appellate decision reflects “substantial uncertainty about the proper application of Section 101.” The Solicitor also noted that the Alice two-part test for patent eligibility enunciated by the Supreme Court in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 573 U.S. 208 (2014), has produced confusion in lower courts, and has “fractured” the Federal Circuit. (See Solicitor’s brief at page 19). The Solicitor also acknowledged the admitted difficulty for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), inventors, businesses, and other patent stakeholders, in applying the Supreme Court’s precedents consistently with regard to patent eligibility under Section 101. The Solicitor urged that the Section 101 inquiry be guided by historical practice and judicial precedent. But Supreme Court precedent appears to be irreconcilable.

IP Practitioners Speak Out on the U.S. Government’s Approach in American Axle Brief

Last week, the United States Solicitor General recommended granting review in American Axle & Manufacturing v. Neapco Holdings, a case many in the patent community hope will provide clarity on U.S. patent eligibility law. IPWatchdog asked stakeholders to weigh in on whether the SG took the right approach and what this latest development means for the fate of U.S. patent eligibility. Here is what they had to say.

IPWatchdog’s Patent Litigation Masters: Waving a Wand to Fix U.S. Patent Litigation

Day two of IPWatchdog’s Patent Litigation Masters Program yesterday included panels on IP Finance, Mega Verdicts in Patent Litigation, Expert Witnesses and the Fintiv Saga. During the latter panel, former U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Judge Kathleen O’Malley joined other speakers to discuss the effects of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) Fintiv decision, a controversial precedential PTAB opinion that outlined factors for the Board to consider in choosing whether to discretionarily deny institution of an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding. Todd Walters of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney presented statistics showing that the rate of denials due to Fintiv has recently fallen off a cliff.

Solicitor General Tells SCOTUS CAFC Got it Wrong in American Axle, Recommends Granting

The United States Solicitor General has recommended granting review in American Axle & Manufacturing v. Neapco Holdings, a case many in the patent community hope will provide clarity on U.S. patent eligibility law. The Supreme Court asked for the views of the Solicitor General in May of 2021 and the response has been highly anticipated. The SG’s brief says that inventions like the one at issue in American Axle have “[h]istorically…long been viewed as paradigmatic examples of the ‘arts’ or ‘processes’ that may receive patent protection if other statutory criteria are satisfied” and that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit “erred in reading this Court’s precedents to dictate a contrary conclusion.”

SCOTUS IP Update: Status of the Top Patent Cases Before the High Court This Term

With about one month left in the U.S. Supreme Court’s current term, several petitions for writ of certiorari in patent cases being appealed from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit remain pending in front of the nation’s highest court. Several of these petitions raise important questions on Section 101 patent eligibility jurisprudence in the wake of Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, a subject which the Supreme Court has punted on dozens of times after handing out that landmark decision on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions back in 2014. With several petitions on other areas of patent law that have grown more uncertain in recent years, including Section 112 enablement issues and patent-specific preclusion doctrines, the last few weeks of the Supreme Court’s term could presage coming changes to U.S. patent law, while recent cert denials indicate other areas of patent law that are of no concern to the nation’s highest court.

SDNY Finds Patent for Processing Financial Transaction Data Invalid Under 101

Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted Block, Inc.’s Motion to Dismiss a complaint brought by AuthWallet, LLC against it for failure to state a claim. The district court found that the claims of AuthWallet’s patent were invalid because they claimed patent ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. AuthWallet’s U.S. Patent No. 9,292,852 relates to systems and methods for processing financial transaction data. Block provides online platforms, products, and services that facilitate financial transaction data. Specifically, Block offers mobile payment options that provide a means for customers to earn and redeem rewards for multiple vendors. In its complaint, AuthWallet alleged that Block’s payment platforms infringe on one or more of claims of the ’852 patent, either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents. Specifically, AuthWallet alleged that Block put the inventions claimed by the ’852 patent into service (i.e., used them) and, therefore, Block benefited financially and commercially.

Patent Practitioners Tell Justices to Forget American Axle—Fix Eligibility Law with Interactive Wearables’ Petition

A group of patent practitioners told the Supreme Court on Thursday that a case involving a patent for a type of content player would be a better vehicle for unraveling the patent eligibility problem than American Axle & Manufacturing v. Neapco Holdings, which has been awaiting a brief of the U.S. Solicitor General for about one year now. The case is Interactive Wearables, LLC v. Polar Electro Oy and Polar Electro, Inc. Interactive Wearables petitioned the High Court in March 2022.

Netflix Scores as California Judge Says Broadcom’s Dynamic Resource Provisioning Patent Claim is Abstract under Alice

Last week, U.S. District Judge James Donato of the Northern District of California issued a judgment on the pleadings invalidating claims from one of 12 patents asserted by semiconductor and software developer Broadcom against streaming video provider Netflix. The ruling is the latest setback for Broadcom in its enforcement campaign against Netflix’s use of patented server technologies to support streaming media services that are cutting into Broadcom’s market for semiconductors developed for use in set-top boxes.

Ameranth Attempts to Bump Eligibility Issue Back to Top of SCOTUS’ Inbox

Earlier this month, Ameranth Inc. filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court requesting review of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s (CAFC’s) decision affirming a district court ruling that Ameranth’s patent was ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Ameranth claims that “federal courts have declared thousands of new and useful inventions abstract and patent ineligible” based on SCOTUS’s decision in Alice Corp Pty. v. CLS Bank Int’l (U.S. Supreme Court, 2014). The culmination of the post-Alice upheaval is the CAFC’s paralytic gridlock of denying rehearing en banc in American Axle & Mfg. v. Neapco Holding LLC (CAFC, 2020) according to the petition. Ameranth pled that the court should provide guidance on the standard for patent eligibility, as federal circuits continue to apply the law in a non-uniform and unarticulated manner.

Judge Michel Asks Supreme Court to Grant Petition in USR v. Apple to Save U.S. Innovation

On March 2, amicus briefs were presented to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of petitioner Universal Secure Registry’s (USR’s) appeal from the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), which challenges that court’s application of the Alice/Mayo framework on Section 101 subject matter patent eligibility in invalidating patent claims owned by USR. Both amicus filings urge the Supreme Court to rein in the Federal Circuit’s expansive application of Alice/Mayo, which has gone far beyond the original bounds intended by the Court. One of those briefs is made even more persuasive by the fact that it was authored by Judge Paul R. Michel, the former Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit.

As Judge Stark Ascends to the Federal Circuit, a Look Back at His 2018 Ruling in American Axle

Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate officially confirmed Judge Leonard P. Stark to serve as a Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The Federal Circuit bench has great importance to the world of patent law as this is the U.S. federal court of appeal with specialized subject matter jurisdiction over all patent cases arising in U.S. district court and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Judge Stark was confirmed in an overwhelmingly bipartisan 61-35 vote, reported to be one of the most bipartisan confirmation votes thus far into the Biden Administration. Perhaps chief among Judge Stark’s qualifications that inspired such confidence in his nomination at the Senate was his previous position as U.S. District Judge for the District of Delaware. Serving as the Chief Judge of that district court since 2014, Judge Stark’s docket has seen more than 2,400 patent cases filed since he joined the District of Delaware back in 2010.

Biden Administration Should Recommend Clarifying Patent Eligibility Law in American Axle

Nine months in, and we are still awaiting the Biden administration’s decision as to whether the law of patent eligibility should be clarified. This area of patent law has in recent years become increasingly unpredictable, and the consequences of that unpredictability have largely fallen on startups, whose primary assets are often inventions. On May 3, 2021, the Supreme Court invited the Solicitor General to recommend whether certiorari should be granted in American Axle v. Neapco Holdings, LLC—a case in which a method for manufacturing vehicle driveshafts was deemed ineligible under 35 USC § 101 as being directed to a law of nature.

CAFC Affirms District Court Finding that Dual-Access Lock Patents are Invalid Under 101

On February 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the Eastern District of New York’s grant of summary judgment that inventor David Tropp’s patents were invalid because they claim ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The appeal was brought by Tropp against Travel Sentry, Inc. and other lock and luggage makers. The asserted claims relate to U.S. Patent Nos. 7,021,537 (the ’537 patent) and 7,036,728 (‘728 patent). Representative claim 1 of the ’537 patent relates to a method of making available a dual-access lock having a combination-lock portion and a master-key-lock portion. The dual-access lock allegedly enables travelers to lock their bags while still allowing luggage screeners to access luggage (with a marked lock) with a master key.