Covered Business Method (CBM) Patent Review : CAFC Alert

Legislative History Does Not Replace Statute as Legal Standard in Determining Whether a Patent is Eligible For Covered Business Method (CBM) Review

| December 27, 2016

Unwired Planet, LLC v. Google

November 21, 2016

Before Reyna, Plager and Hughes. Opinion by Reyna.


Google petitioned for CBM review of claims 25-29 of U.S. Patent No. 7,203,752 (the “’752 patent”) directed to a system and method for restricting access to a wireless device’s location information.  The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“the Board”) instituted review of all challenged claims, and, as a threshold matter, reviewed whether the ‘752 patent is a CBM patent, and therefore the subject of CBM review.  The Board instituted the CBM review on several grounds, including lack of written description, obviousness, and the ground that claims 25-29 are not patent eligible under 35 U.S.C. §101.  The Board upheld only the ground that the claims are not patent eligible under 35 U.S.C. §101.

Unwired Planet, LLC (“Unwired”) appealed the Board’s decision arguing, inter alia, that the Board erred in applying a standard that is broader than the AIA contemplates to determine whether the ’752 patent was a CBM patent.  The CAFC reversed and remanded, holding that the Board relied on an incorrect definition of covered business method in evaluating the challenged patent.

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