Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Telephone- or Internet-Based Reverse Auction Patent Unpatentable Under 35 U.S.C. § 101

In a final written decision, the Board found claims of a telephone- or Internet-based reverse auction patent unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. § 101. "In the ’211 Patent, the producer tests a plurality of prices throughout the auction. . . . [T]he producer adjusts the demand curve by reducing the quantity available based on customers’ reactions to the various price offers, and selects new prices based on the estimated outcome . . . . In [OIP Techs., Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc., 788 F.3d 1359 (Fed. Cir. 2015)] the court discussed 'the claims’ recitation of ‘present[ing] [offers] to potential customers’ and ‘gathering . . . statistics generated during said testing about how the potential customers responded to the offers,’' concluding that '[t]hese processes are well-understood, routine, conventional data-gathering activities that do not make the claims patent eligible. . . . [T]he addition of steps to test prices and collect data based on customer reactions does not add any meaningful limitations to the abstract idea.' The claims of the ’211 Patent recite a patent ineligible abstract idea, similar to the offer-based pricing claims the Federal Circuit found ineligible in OIP. . . . [T]he claimed 'inventive concept' argued by Patent Owner is simply the application of the well-known offer-based pricing principles."

Petition for Covered Business Method Patent Review by The Jewelry Channel, Inc. USA, CBM2014-00119 (PTAB October 16, 2015, Order) (McNamara, APJ)

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