Friday, November 20, 2015

Call Routing Patent Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101

The court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment that plaintiff's call routing patent was invalid for lack of patentable subject matter and found that the claims lacked an inventive concept. "[The patent-in-suit] does not 'solve a problem of computer networks in a way that is rooted in computer technology.' Indeed, the problem solved has nothing to do with computer networks; the (perceived) problem is having to punch more than ten digits into a telephone in order to make a long distance call. . . . The genius of the [patent] (and it is indeed clever and creative) lies in seeing that you don't have to input additional numbers in order to complete an overseas call, but can instead use a combination of caller ID and call forwarding to route and connect the call without dialing another digit. . . . The claimed invention is literally no more sophisticated than what Jenny the Operator did on Lassie, those many years ago; as defendant argues, any telephone operator given a copy of the lookup table (which is not part of the claimed invention) can route and connect the call. It may not be cost-efficient to do it that way, but it can most certainly be done - and was for many, many years, when we used to dial (or, later, press) 'O,' and someone connected us to the intended recipient of our call. . . . [P]atents are not available for all inspirations of genius, but only for processes, machines, manufactures and combinations of materials."

Stanacard, LLC v. Rubard, LLC et al, 1-12-cv-05176 (NYSD November 18, 2015, Order) (McMahon, J.)

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