RobertRaheja : CAFC Alert

Specific application of an abstract idea may be patent eligible

Rob Raheja | June 26, 2013

Ultramercial, Inc. v. Hulu, LLC.

June 21, 2013

Panel: Rader, Lourie and O’Malley.  Opinion by Rader.  Concurrence by Lourie

Summary

Ultramercial, Inc. sued Hulu, LLC for infringement of U.S. Patent 7,346,545 (the ‘545 patent) directed to a method of monetizing and distributing copyrighted products over the Internet. The district court dismissed the patent suit by holding that the patent claims an abstract idea; therefore, it is not a process under 35 U.S.C. §101. In an earlier decision, the Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s holding and remanded. The Supreme Court of the United States vacated the earlier decision by the Federal Circuit. The Federal Circuit again holds that the patent does not claim an abstract idea because the claims are not drawn to a mathematical algorithm or a series of purely mental steps because the claims require, among other things, a particular method for collecting revenue from the distribution of media products over the Internet by way of controlled interaction with a consumer over an Internet website. Therefore, the Federal Circuit again reversed the district court’s holding and remanded for further proceeding.


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Vitiation exclusion: a judicial determination ensuring that doctrine of equivalents does not overtake statutory function of claims in defining scope of exclusive rights

Rob Raheja | January 2, 2013

Deere & Co. v. Bush Hog

December 4, 2012

Panel:  Rader, Newman and Plager. Opinion by Rader.

Summary

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, among other things, construed the claimed term “into engagement with” of ‘980 Patent to require direct contact and construed “being secured to” of ‘980 Patent as “fastened or attached.” Based on this construction, the district court granted Bush Hog & Co. LLC’s and Great Plains Inc.’s motions for summary judgment of noninfringement by holding that Deere did not raise a genuine issue of material fact as to literal infringement because the upper deck walls do not come into contact with the lower deck walls in any of the accused products. In addition, the district court held that Deere could not assert infringement under the doctrine of equivalents because doing so would vitiate the “into engagement with” limitation. Because in the context of the ‘980 Patent “into engagement with” encompasses indirect contact, the Federal Circuit vacated the district court’s construction of this term, reversed the grant of summary judgment, and remanded for further proceedings. Also, the Federal Circuit found that the district court invoked vitiation exclusion in error by refusing to apply the doctrine of equivalents because “a reasonable jury could find that a small spacer connecting the upper and lower deck walls represents an insubstantial difference from direct contact.” Therefore, the Federal Circuit also vacated the grant of summary judgment of no infringement under the doctrine of equivalents.


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CLS Bank v. Alice Corporation: An attempt in formulating the abstractness of the “abstract ideas” test to patent eligibility

Rob Raheja | July 18, 2012

CLS Bank v. Alice Corporation

July 9, 2012

Panel:  Linn, Prost and O’Malley. Opinion by Linn.  Dissent by Prost.

Summary

The district court for the District of Columbia held that claims to computer systems, computer readable medium and claims to methods of using a computer of the asserted patents were all invalid as “abstract ideas.” In so holding, the district court ignored the limitations recited in the claims and boiled the invention down to a mere abstract concept “of employing an intermediary to facilitate simultaneous exchange of obligations in order to minimize risk.” On appeal, the Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s judgment of invalidity under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The Federal Circuit, after considering each asserted claim “as a whole”, found that it was not “manifestly evident” that the claims of the asserted patent were drawn to “abstract ideas.” Therefore, the Federal Circuit held that claims must not be deemed inadequate under 35 U.S.C. § 101.


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The Patent Court revisits IPXL doctrine regarding prohibition on hybrid claiming

Rob Raheja | February 29, 2012

HTC Corporation v. IPCom GmbH & Co.

January 30, 2012

Panel:  Bryson, Linn and O’Malley.  Opinion by O’Malley.

Summary

HTC Corporation and HTC America, Inc. sued IPCom GmbH & Co., KG seeking a declaration that it did not infringe claims of IPCom patents. IPCom counterclaimed alleging infringement. HTC moved for summary judgment of invalidity on the ground that claims 1 and 18 of U.S. Patent No. 6,879,830 owned by IPCom were indefinite because (1) they claimed both an apparatus and method steps; and (2) the means-plus-function limitation “arrangement for reactivating,” found in the last paragraph of claims 1 and 18, was indefinite because the patent failed to disclose structure corresponding to the claimed function. On summary judgment, the district court agreed with HTC that claims 1 and 18 were indefinite based on the Federal Circuit’s precedent in IPXL Holdings, L.L.C. v. Amazon.com, Inc prohibiting hybrid claiming of apparatus and method steps in the same claim, but rejected HTC’s argument that the claims were indefinite for failing to disclose the structure corresponding to the means-plus-function limitation. On appeal, the Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s judgment of invalidity based on hybrid claiming, but did not disturb the district court’s finding regarding the means-plus-function limitation. The Federal Circuit held that the district court misconstrued the asserted claims and that the patent did not describe any improper hybrid claiming of apparatus and method steps in the same claim because the claims, when properly construed, were drawn to only an apparatus and the prohibition on hybrid claiming under IPXL was inapplicable to claims 1 and 18.
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