Friday, November 14, 2014

Casino Monitoring Patent Not Abstract Under Alice

The court denied defendants' motion for summary judgment that plaintiff's casino monitoring patent was invalid for lack of patentable subject matter and rejected defendants' argument that the prior art showed the abstract concept of a customer loyalty program was practiced before plaintiff's invention. "[A]utomation of manual tasks is not necessarily abstract. U.S. Patent No. 72 (1794) to Eli Whitney for a cotton gin is one familiar example of a solidly tangible automating machine. Of course, one could posit a way of drafting even a claim to a cotton gin in a way that renders it abstract: 'a machine comprising metal and wood configured to remove cotton seeds from cotton fiber.' Read most charitably, Defendants are arguing something like that — that the prior art shows that all of the steps in the claimed method were performed together previously, and the [patent-in-suit] merely says 'do that, on a computer,' neatly fitting the [Alice Corp. Pty. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014)] mold. But Defendants rely on multiple combinations of references to make that argument, and as couched by Defendants, those combinations seem more like an obviousness argument under 35 U.S.C. § 103 than a patent eligibility analysis under 35 U.S.C. § 101. . . . Defendants have not demonstrated that the claims simply cover generic computer implementation of the way poker rooms were managed before the invention."

Ameranth, Inc. v. Genesis Gaming Solutions, Inc. et al, 8-11-cv-00189 (CACD November 12, 2014, Order) (Guilford, J.)

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