Monday, May 4, 2015

Data Encryption and Check Scanning and Imaging are Abstract Ideas Under Alice

In a final written decision, the Board found the challenged claims of a data acquisition patent upatentable under § 101 and rejected the patent owner's argument that data encryption and check imaging and scanning were not abstract ideas. "Patent Owner [argues] . . . that a general recitation of encryption renders the claims patent eligible and that encryption is not an abstract idea. . . . [T]he basic concept of encryption is ubiquitous. Encryption, in general, represents a basic building block of human ingenuity that has been used for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Like hedging, encryption in its simplest form does not require the use of technology to communicate secure messages. Specifically, encryption, in its simplest form, could be performed with pencil and paper. . . . According to Patent Owner, '[i]maging or scanning a check or other financial document is a routine practice in the business of banking/financial matters' and that routine practices are not abstract. . . . The fact that a business practice is used widely does not preclude a determination that the underlying practice involves an abstract idea. . . . Patent Owner [also] contends that imaging or scanning a check is not an abstract idea because documents and receipts are concrete objects. The fact that a claim recites substantial physical limitations does not preclude a determination that the claim is effectively an unpatentable law of nature or an attempt to preempt an abstract idea."

Petition for Covered Business Method Patent Review by Fidelity National Information Services, Inc., CBM2014-00020 (PTAB April 29, 2015, Order) (Tierney, APJ)

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