Smartflash LLC et al v. Apple Inc. et al, 6-13-cv-00447 (TXED January 21, 2015, Order) (Mitchell, M.J.)
Friday, January 23, 2015
Data Storage and Digital Content Access Patents Not Invalid Under Alice
The magistrate judge recommended denying defendants' motion for summary judgment that plaintiff's data storage and digital content access patents were invalid for lack of patentable subject matter because they addressed unique problems unknown in the pre-internet world. "[T]he patents here do not simply apply a known business practice from the pre-Internet world to computers or the Internet. . . . Piracy of digital content became widespread through means unknown to the pre-Internet world. The patents claim methods and systems designed to prevent such easy and unauthorized reproduction and access while allowing the access to be nearly instantaneous and the storage to be permanent. The patents also address the unique problem of controlling a user’s access to data that the user already possesses by tracking use data and restricting access according to use rules. This sort of access control was also unknown in the pre-Internet era, even though Defendants’ expert opined that the patents can be likened to ordering a DVD over the telephone. . . . [T]he claims solve problems faced by digital content providers in the Internet Era and 'improve the functioning of the computer itself' by providing protection for proprietary digital content."