Thursday, October 30, 2014

Novelty Irrelevant to Unpatentability Analysis

The court granted defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings that plaintiff's event photograph processing patents were invalid for unpatentable subject matter and rejected plaintiff's novelty argument. "The patents in suit merely implement basic computer technology to perform the same process, with computer systems automating much of the work previously done manually: matching the photographs to participants and making the photographs available in a relatively undesirable (low-resolution or watermarked) form for inspection and ordering. . . . [M]oving the selection and ordering of event photographs onto a computer server cannot transform this practice into a patentable invention. . . . [Plaintiff] argues, although 'it may seem commonplace now to search for event photographs on the internet . . . prior to [plaintiff] doing it for sporting event photography [15 years ago], it simply had not been done.' But this is of no moment. 'The ‘novelty’ of any element or steps in a process, or even of the process itself, is of no relevance in determining whether the subject matter of a claim falls within the § 101 categories of possibly patentable subject matter.'”

Peter H. Wolf v. Capstone Photography, Inc. et al, 2-13-cv-09573 (CACD October 28, 2014, Order) (Snyder, J.)

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