Modern Telecom Systems LLC v. Juno Online Services, Inc. et al, 8-14-cv-00348 (CACD March 17, 2015, Order) (Carter, J.)
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Modem Software Patents Not Categorically Unpatentable Under Alice
The court denied without prejudice defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings that plaintiff's data communication patents were invalid for lack of patentable subject matter because defendants failed to establish a lack of inventive concept. "[T]he patents concern software that controls the way a user modem communicates with a telephone company modem . . . The claims here 'do not merely recite the performance of some business practice known from the pre-Internet world along with the requirement to perform it on the Internet.' Instead . . . Plaintiff’s claims appear to describe a solution that is 'necessarily rooted in computer technology in order to overcome a problem specifically arising in the realm of computer networks.'. . . [T]here is no record of the technology described in the patents being well-known at the time of filing or simply involving performance of 'well-understood, routine, and conventional activities commonly used in the industry.' . . . Defendants emphasize the 'software focus' of the patents as if recent Federal Circuit cases support a rule that software is categorically patent-ineligible. The Court does not interpret the cases that way and, instead, agrees with the conclusion in [California Inst. of Tech. v. Hughes Commc’ns Inc. (C.D. Cal. Nov. 3, 2014)] that 'software must be eligible under § 101.'"