Tenon & Groove LLC et al v. Plusgrade SEC et al, 1-12-cv-01118 (DED January 6, 2015, Order) (Fallon, M.J.)
Monday, January 12, 2015
Claims Directed to Achieving “Optimal Upgrade” for Airline Customers Invalid Under Alice
The magistrate judge recommended granting defendant's motion for summary judgment that plaintiff's value optimization patents were invalid for lack of patentable subject matter and found that the claims were directed to an abstract idea without an inventive concept. "The concept of using a computer to "optimize revenue generation based on interactions between air carriers and their customers based on their relative perception of value regarding certain product enhancement options that are based on and dictated by unknown future events," has no concrete or tangible form. . . . Although certain dependent claims restrict the field of use to the airline industry, this limitation is insufficient to establish patent eligibility under § 101. . . . An airline's capacity to track variables, including the preferences of multiple passengers, flight availability, and the perceived value for an upgrade option, is not an inventive concept. Like the risk hedging in Bilski, and the concept of intermediated settlement in Alice, the concept of using a computer to optimize negotiations between an airline and its customer, to each obtain the best economic results given certain conditions, is 'a fundamental economic practice long prevalent in our system of commerce.'"