Thursday, June 13, 2013

First Final Decision by PTAB in CBM Review: Challenged Claims Unpatentable Under Section 101

The Board issued its final written decision that the patent-at -issue, directed to pricing products and services using hierarchies, was unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. § 101. "[E]ach of challenged claims involves the use of an abstract idea: determining a price using organizational and product group hierarchies, which are akin to management organizational charts. The concept of organizational hierarchies for products and customers is abstract as it represents a “disembodied concept,” a basic building block of human ingenuity. Similarly, determining a price is also abstract as it is essentially a method of calculating. . . . [W]hile the challenged claims are drafted to include computer hardware limitations, the underlying process that is implemented on such hardware could also be performed via pen and paper. . . . [E]ven if the abstract idea and 'specific' steps represent a marketplace improvement, the claims are not patent-eligible where the appended steps lack meaningful limitations that prevent the claim as a whole from covering the practical applications of the abstract idea."

Petition for Covered Business Method Patent Review by SAP America, Inc., CBM2012-00001 (PTAB June 11, 2013, Order) (Tierney, APJ).

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