Alice : CAFC Alert

CAFC finds broadly claimed computer memory system eligible under first step of Alice.

Thomas Brown | September 21, 2017

Visual Memory LLC v Nvidia Corporation

August 15, 2017

Before O’Malley, Hughes and Stoll. Precedential Opinion by Stoll, joined by O’Malley; Dissent by Hughes.

Summary:

Visual Memory sued Nvidia for infringement of USP 5,953,740 (the ‘740 patent).  The district court granted Nvidia’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim (rule 12(b)(6)) based on patent ineligible subject matter. The CAFC reversed and remanded finding that the computer memory systems claims of the ‘740 satisfied the first step of Alice.


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Software can make non-abstract improvements to computer technology under 35 USC §101

Thomas Brown | June 24, 2016

Enfish, LLC v Microsoft Corp.

May 12, 2016

Precedential Opinion by Hughes, joined by Moore and Taranto.

Summary:

Enfish sued Microsoft for infringement of several patents related to a “self-referential” table for a database. The district court found all claims invalid as ineligible under § 101 on summary judgment.  The CAFC reversed the summary judgment based on § 101 by finding that claims drawn to a “self-referential” table for a data base are not directed to an abstract idea under step one of the Alice analysis.


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Surviving Alice Gone Wild

John Kong | November 26, 2014

Before the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice Corp. v CLS Bank Int’l [1], Judge Moore said “this case is the death of hundreds of thousands of patents, including all business method, financial system, and software patents as well as many computer implemented and telecommunications patents.”[2] This concern is premised on about twenty years of patent practice grounded in the en banc 1994 Federal Circuit decision in In re Alappat which previously established the “special purpose computer” justification for patent eligibility under 35 USC §101 for computer-implemented inventions.[3]  The Alice decision essentially eliminated the “special purpose computer” bright line rule as applied generally to computer-implemented inventions.  The new Mayo 2-part §101 test for computer-implemented inventions is, however, fraught with issues from the lack of guidance on how to properly apply it.  Some strategic arguments for surviving a §101 attack are presented in this article, as well as a new way to address what is “significantly more.”


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The Alice in Wonderland En Banc Decision by the Federal Circuit in CLS Bank v. Alice

John Kong | May 13, 2013

CLS Bank v. Alice Corporation (en banc)

May 10, 2013

After the Federal Circuit issued its en banc decision on May 10, 2013 in CLS Bank v. Alice Corp, the patent owner Alice Corp must be feeling like Alice in Alice in Wonderland, bewildered and frightened by the fantastical situation in which they find themselves:

(1) “bewildered” because an equally divided Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s holding that Alice’s claimed system to tangible machine components including a first party device, a data storage unit, a second party device, a computer, and a communications controller, programmed with specialized functions consistent with detailed algorithms disclosed in the patent, constitutes a patent ineligible “abstract idea;”

(2) “frightened” because, as Judge Moore puts it, “this case is the death of hundreds of thousands of patents, including all business method, financial system, and software patents as well as many computer implemented and telecommunications patents” (Moore Op. at 2); and

(3) “fantastical” because, as Judge Newman puts it, the en banc court was tasked to provide objective standards for 35 USC §101 patent-eligibility, but instead has “propounded at least three incompatible standards, devoid of consensus, serving to add to the unreliability and cost of the [patent] system…[such that] the only assurance is that any successful innovation is likely to be challenged in opportunistic litigation, whose result will depend on the random selection of the panel” (Newman Op. at 1-2).


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