preemption : CAFC Alert

AUTOMATED PROCESSES ARE NOT INELIGIBLE SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY ARE PERFORMED ON A GENERAL PURPOSE COMPUTER

Sung-Hoon Kim | October 4, 2016

McRO, Inc. v. Bandai Namco Games America Inc. et al.

September 13, 2016

Before Reyna, Taranto, and Stoll. Opinion by Reyna.

Summary:

McRO appealed a grant of judgment on the pleadings under FRCP 12(c) that the asserted claims of 6,307,576 (“the ’576 patent”) and 6,611,278 (“the ’278 patent”) are invalid under §101 by the District Court for the Central District of California. The District Court held that the asserted claims are directed to patent-ineligible subject matter and are therefore invalid under under §101.  However, the Federal Circuit reversed the decision and held that the claims are not directed to an abstract idea and recite subject matter as a patentable process under §101 because an “order combination of claimed steps using unconventional rules” is not directed to an abstract idea and is therefore patent-eligible subject matter under §101.


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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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Predictably Divided CAFC Panel Finds Computer System Claims Not Patent-Eligible

Darrin Auito | September 17, 2013

Accenture Global Services, GMBH v. Guidewire Software, Inc.
 
September 5, 2013
 
Panel: Lourie (author), Reyna, Rader (dissent)
 
Summary:
 

Not surprisingly, the decision of the latest Federal Circuit case on software patent eligibility can be predicted based on the makeup of the CAFC panel.  Judge Lourie, joined by Judge Reyna, issued the majority opinion that the system claims were invalid.  The Court followed the analysis for determining patent eligibility from CLS Bank, 717 F.3d 1269 (Fed. Cir. 2013) and affirmed the district court’s finding that the system claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,013,284 (“the ‘284 patent”) were ineligible.  Judge Rader dissented.


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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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