Using narrow claim breadth as a sign of software patent-eligibility
In two cases written by Judge Chen (DDR Holdings, LLC v. Hotels.com L.P., 2013-1505 (Chen, Wallach, Meyer (dissent) and Bascom Global Internet Services, Inc., v. AT&T Mobility LLC, 2015-1763 (Newman, O’Malley, Chen)) the patents were found to be patent-eligible principally because analysis typically regarded as being under Mayo step 2 demonstrated that the claims added “something more” to the abstract ideas than merely well-understood and conventional steps. In effect, Judge Chen’s opinions focus on whether the narrowness of the claim is adequate. If it is, the claim is not abstract. How narrow is “narrow enough” is, like “abstract”, not defined, but this approach bears a closer resemblance to the original limiting principle of the abstract idea doctrine – preemption – than many recent decisions.