Gametek LLC v. Zynga Inc., 3-13-cv-02546 (CAND April 25, 2014, Order) (Seeborg, J.)
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
In-App Purchase Game Patent Invalid for Claiming Unpatentable Subject Matter
The court granted defendants' motions for judgment on the pleadings that plaintiff's in-app purchase gaming patent contained an unpatentable abstract idea. "A patent need not . . . preempt an entire field to run afoul of § 101; instead, the question is whether the patent 'would risk disproportionately tying up' the use of the abstract idea. . . . According to [plaintiff], because the claims are directed to methods which use a programmed computer to effect twelve specific concrete steps, the claims do not wholly preempt third parties from very generally using a computer for gaming or allowing players to purchase additional objects during a game. [Plaintiff] does not explain, however, how the claim leaves any meaningful space for a third party to practice the abstract idea of allowing a user to purchase an object for use in the course of game play. Limiting the abstract idea to the field of video games is not enough to make the concept patentable."