Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Evolving State of § 101 Law Weighs Against Award of Attorney Fees Under § 285

Following summary judgment of invalidity for lack of patentable subject matter, the court denied defendant's motion for attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 because plaintiff's litigation positions were not baseless. "[D]efendant focuses on the very invalidity arguments presented in the summary judgment briefing. The court expended considerable effort in reaching its invalidity determination and analyzed those very arguments in its opinion. Defendant's characterization of plaintiff's arguments as 'reckless' and its claims as 'clearly invalid' is in contradiction to the court's position that the § 101 analysis is an evolving state of the law and a difficult exercise, which does not lend itself to, e.g., shifting fees pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 285."

YYZ LLC v. Pegasystems Inc., 1-13-cv-00581 (DED May 2, 2016, Order) (Robinson, J.)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Activity Tracking Patents Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101

The ALJ granted respondents' motion for summary determination that two of complainant's activity tracking patents were invalid for lack of patentable subject matter and found that the asserted claims were directed to abstract ideas. "Utilizing conventional electronic devices to obtain and manipulate sleep-related data of an individual is an abstract idea bereft of any innovative technological concept and, as such, cannot be monopolized by [complainant]. This type of information can be and has been collected and recorded by human minds and hands. . . . That the generic components of the patented system are housed within a single unit 'configured to be removably mounted' on the individual's body also fails to render the purported invention less abstract. Staff agrees with [complainant] that the addition of the wearable device saves the [asserted] patent, but I am not persuaded. . . . [T]he recitation of a system consisting of 'a handful of generic computer components' and a wearable device to house them is in substance no different than the abstract idea itself. Notwithstanding that the draftsman of the [patent] included a wearable device as part of the claimed system, the abstract idea of tracking sleep remains unchanged."

Activity Tracking Devices, Systems, and Components Thereof, 337-TA-963 (ITC April 27, 2016, Order) (Lord, ALJ)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Top Patentees in the First Quarter of 2016

WHAT THESE CHARTS MEAN

These charts show the most active patentees in U.S. district court cases during the first quarter of 2016 by the number of cases and the number of accusations asserted in those cases. In the first quarter of 2016, Shipping and Transit LLC was named as a litigant in 31 cases. To see a list of the cases, click here. (Note: To view a list of cases involving other parties, click the pencil icon next to the “party” filter in the search results.)

PATENT ACCUSATIONS

A Patent Accusation is a more granular way to measure the volume of litigation activity than counting the number of cases or litigants. The term means a request for relief, the resolution of which could determine if a patent has been infringed or the patent’s validity or enforceability.

For example, a civil case with one plaintiff asserting one patent against one defendant would involve one patent accusation, whereas a case with one plaintiff asserting 5 patents against 10 defendants would result in 50 infringement accusations. Multiple claims involving the same parties and patents (e.g., a claim of infringement and a declaratory judgment counterclaim of invalidity or unenforceability) are counted as a single accusation.


FIRST QUARTER 2015

For comparison, the charts below show the top patentees for the same time period in 2015.

Orders Denying § 101 Challenges for Failure to Show a Lack of Inventive Concept

The most common reason § 101 challenges fail is a failure to establish the first step of the Alice analysis, that the challenged claims are directed to an abstract idea or some other patent ineligible subject matter. However, eighteen § 101 challenges were denied for failure to show the second step, that the claims lacked an inventive concept. To view those decisions, click here. Click “Create Alert” to be notified when a new decision is issued.

Geographical Data Display Patent Not Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101

The court denied defendant's motion for summary judgment that plaintiff's geographical data display patent was invalid for lack of patentable subject matter and found that the asserted claims did not lack an inventive concept. "The [patent-in-suit] seeks to 'enable [space related] data to be represented in any pre-selected image resolution in the way in which the object would have been seen by an observer with a selectable location and selectable direction of view.' Further, the patent aims to 'keep the effort required for generating an image so low that the image generation takes place so rapidly that upon alteration of the location and/or of the direction of view of the observer, the impression of continuous movement about the object arises.' These goals, the patent explains, are improvements over prior art systems like electronic maps stored on CD-ROMs, car navigation systems, or flight simulators. . . . As an ordered combination, this iterative process allows a user to access more electronic pictorial data in a more rapid fashion. The distributed data sources permit a user to access masses of data, while the recursive division step permits a user to access that data quickly, with increasing resolution over time. . . . The elements of the method described in the [patent] are not merely what a computer does; they are a specific procedure that is done by a computer. . . . Claim 1 recites a specific way of overcoming a problem which plagued prior art systems. This specific solution . . . demonstrates a sufficient inventive concept."

ART+COM Innovationpool GmbH v. Google Inc., 1-14-cv-00217 (DED April 28, 2016, Order) (Andrews, J.)

Friday, April 29, 2016

“Unsettled and Rapidly Evolving” Patent Eligibility Landscape Weighs Against Award of Attorney Fees

Following summary judgment of invalidity for lack of patentable subject matter the court denied plaintiff's motion for attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 because defendant's litigation positions were not baseless. "[T]he patent issued after the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice. The patent is presumed valid, 'and this presumption exists at every stage of the litigation.' Defendant also notes that it did not initiate the litigation. In Defendant’s view, it merely defended 'a presumptively valid patent and preserve[d] its counterclaims in an action it did not initiate in a forum it did not choose.' In addition, Defendant correctly points out that post-Alice, the landscape of patent ineligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 is unsettled and rapidly evolving. Defendant argues that while it was aware Alice 'would create difficultly[,]' it defended the patent in good faith. On this record, the Court declines to find that the substantive weakness of Defendant’s position was so objectively apparent as to render the case exceptional."

Clarilogic, Inc. v. FormFree Holdings Corporation et al, 3-15-cv-00041 (CASD April 27, 2016, Order) (Sabraw, J.)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Patents for Digitally Labeling Websites Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101

The court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment that the asserted claims of plaintiff’s patents for digitally labeling websites were invalid for lack of patentable subject matter and found that the claims were directed toward an abstract idea. "[T]he asserted claims are directed to the abstract idea of gathering and labeling information to facilitate efficient retrieval of the labeled information. . . . As the Court recently found in . . . a case in which the asserted patent was similarly directed to the abstract idea of storing and labeling information, 'the claimed idea represents routine tasks that could be performed by a human.'”

Gonzalez v. InfoStream Group, Inc., 2-14-cv-00906 (TXED April 26, 2016, Order) (Gilstrap, J.)