IP Portfolio Manager
On March 22nd Judge Robinson in the District Court for the District of Delaware struck down three 101 based challenges.
In the first case, Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Ricoh Americas Corporation et al, the Court denied Ricoh’s motion for judgement on the pleadings by finding that claims which apply parameters meeting a certain mathematical formula (i.e. the parameters were determined independently and compared to the results of a formula) do not claim said mathematical formula nor simply implement it. As such the Court found that the claims were not directed to an abstract idea, thereby passing step one of the Alice inquiry.
In the second case, Network Congestion Solutions LLC v. United States Cellular Corporation, the Court denied Defendant’s motion to dismiss, finding that the asserted claims were not directed to an abstract idea. The Court found that just because Defendant’s were able to come up with a real world analog for the activity practiced by the claims, the claims were not invalid in the face of the Alice inquiry. The claims were directed to “alleviating congestion in a communication network” and recited steps for improving the flow of data to and from end user devices. The Court referenced DDR in finding that the claims were necessarily rooted in computer technology and were directed to overcome a problem specifically arising in the realm of computer networks.
In the third case, Improved Search LLC v. AOL Inc., the Court denied U.S. Cellular’s motion to dismiss, again finding that the asserted claims were not directed to an abstract idea. The Court stated that just because “a method involving a computer and the internet may be broken down into a series of steps performed by a human does not resolve whether such method is an ‘abstract idea.'” The Court went on to state that the “methods at bar do not perform a business method known form the pre-Internet world on the computer, instead, the methods contain an additional layer of complexity. The methods…’address the problem of ensuring that Internet search engines retrieve not only Web pages and documents written in the query language, but in foreign languages as well.'”
March 22nd was a great day for patent holders in the software space. New and useful invention should not be ceded to the public domain simply because it is practiced on a computer.