A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


Entries for tag: ss-101

Ridesharing
Brecht Denil, Unsplash

Magistrate Judge Hall issued a § 101 R&R today in Rideshare Displays, Inc. v. Lyft, Inc., C.A. No. 20-1629-RGA-JLH (D. Del.), recommending denial of defendant Lyft's motion to dismiss based on § 101.

The Court found that the patent was not directed to an abstract idea—though it noted that it was a close call—and that, regardless, the invention contained an inventive concept under Step 2 of Alice.

We've all read about dozens (or more) of § 101 opinions over the last few years, but here are a few points of interest from Judge Hall's opinion:

  • Judge Hall closely examined the representativeness of the alleged representative claim, and rejected it as unrepresentative. Choose …

We've written several times about Judge Stark's practice of holding "101 days." For the uninitiated, these are day-long hearings in which the court hears argument on multiple 101 motions from unrelated cases in a single, combined hearing. He has continued this practice throughout the pandemic, holding telephonic 101 days roughly once a quarter since July 2020.

He held another one last Friday, and he issued his written rulings earlier today. This time, he addressed three 12(b)(6) motions covering a total of four patents.

F45 Training Pty Ltd. v. Body Fit Training USA Inc. (C.A. No. 20-1194-LPS)

The claims were "directed to the abstract idea of storing, sending, and retrieving information over a network." Judge Stark found that this …

On Friday, Chief Judge Stark released his opinion summarizing his bench rulings from his most recent Section 101 day. This is how the patents fared:

Content Square v. Quantum Metric, Inc., C.A. No. 20-832-LPS (D. Del.)

In the first case, Content Square, the Court invalidated the claims of 2 of the 5 asserted patents.

Not this kind of web crawling.
Not this kind of web crawling. Michael Anfang, Unsplash

The invalidated patents related to "heat map patents," which relate to displaying heat maps of web browsing data. These include U.S. Patent Nos. 10,063,645 and 10,079,737.

The third patent, which was not invalidated, related to "creating multiple versions of a website to determine users' preferences." Interestingly, the Court held …

Wilmington, <a href='#' class='abbreviation' data-toggle='tooltip' data-placement='top' title='Delaware'>DE</a>
Wilmington, DE Andrew Russell, CC BY 2.0

As we noted recently, Chief Judge Stark has a practice of holding "§ 101 days," in which he hears oral argument on a number of § 101 motions all at once, each from a different case. He typically issues decisions from the bench regarding each motion—which is always exciting—and follows up later with a written decision.

At first it seemed that § 101 days tended to be fatal for the patents involved, but more recent hearings have shown otherwise.

On Friday, Chief Judge Stark posted the schedule and public access information for his next § 101 day, set …

Terracotta revetment with a griffin
The Met

Yesterday, Judge Noreika denied an early Section 101 challenge to two patents-in-suit, in light of a factual dispute regarding unconventionality of certain aspects of the claimed invention.

Although plaintiff managed to survive the § 101 motion, it failed to meet the relatively un-demanding standard for pleading direct infringement – a test that would have been satisfied if the plaintiff had simply "identified the . . . accused products and alleged that the accused products met 'each and every element of at least one claim' of the asserted patents, either literally or equivalently." ...

GPS Navigation
Alvaro Reyes, Unsplash

Judge Noreika issued an opinion today denying a § 101 motion on a patent that covers delivering GPS navigation information to a vehicle in a "short burst."

As to Alice step 1, the Court found that the claims were "do it on a computer" claims directed to the abstract idea of sending and receiving navigation data:

[A]t step 1, claim 1 seems focused on using computers to perform a human activity more efficiently.

At step 2, however, the Court found that the patent's bare-bones specification saved it from § 101—it's hard to find that any particular solution was conventional at the § 101 motion-to-dismiss stage when the specification simply does not discuss the prior …

I couldn't find a picture of
I couldn't find a picture of "teleorthodontics" H. Shaw, Unsplash

Today, Judge Connolly held ineligible a patent directed to "teleorthodontics," i.e., a business method for practicing orthodontics remotely through the use of 3D scans of a patients' mouth.

The outcome is not all that unusual—Judge Connolly characterized the patents as essentially "do it with a computer" patents for orthodontics, where the patent claims performing a traditionally offline activity remotely using conventional computers and commercially available 3D scanners.

And, as the Court noted, other courts have held telehealth business method patents ineligible under § 101. Here, according to the Court, the patents at issue simply applied available commercial technology to the abstract idea of connecting patients and orthodontists …

Handwritten Form
Glenn Carstens-Peters, Unsplash

The "printed matter" doctrine states that elements claiming printed matter—e.g., text printed on paper or some other substrate—bear no patentable weight unless the printed matter and the substrate are functionally related. As the Federal Circuit explained today:

[P]rinted matter encompasses any information claimed for its communicative content, and the doctrine prohibits patenting such printed matter unless it is “functionally related” to its “substrate,” which encompasses the structural elements of the claimed invention.

In its decision, the Federal Circuit noted the Court has—incredibly—never addressed whether a claim directed to printed matter is ineligible under § 101:

Notably, since the Supreme Court articulated its two-step framework in Alice, this court has not directly addressed whether …

The most famous use of the phrase
The most famous use of the phrase "self-evident"? Engraving by William J. Stone

In ruling on § 101 motions to dismiss, the Court typically adopts plaintiff's constructions outright, if plaintiff offers any. Those constructions may or may not be enough to avoid dismissal, but I can't recall any instance where the District of Delaware actually had to reject a construction as implausible under the FRCP 12(b)(6) standard.

Until now. In Synkloud Tech. v. HP, Inc., C.A. No. 19-1360-RGA (D. Del. Sep. 28, 2020), plaintiff tried to bake the § 101 "non-conventional" standard into the proposed claim construction. Clever! But Judge Andrews described the problems with that approach as "self-evident":

Plaintiff states that a person of ordinary skill …

I assume there is a troll in here somewhere
I assume there is a troll in here somewhere Jamie Street, Unsplash

As I mentioned earlier this week, I recently saw a fascinating article by James Bottomley relating a non-attorneys' view on patent trolls and a specific attack against GNOME, a well-known component of many open source Linux- and Unix-based operating systems.

The GNOME Foundation was sued in the N.D. Cal. by a Rothschild entity (a well-known NPE). The case involved what looks like a pretty typical NPE complaint, alleging infringement of a single patent. His article recounted his experiences and the settlement, and argues that the patent system is broken because of how hard it is to defend against these kinds of suits.

I wanted to …