American Needle, Inc. v. Zazzle Inc., 1-15-cv-03971 (ILND January 19, 2016, Order) (Darrah, J.)
Friday, January 22, 2016
Customizable Merchandise Preview Patent Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101
The court granted defendant's motion to dismiss because the asserted claims of plaintiff’s customizable merchandise preview patent encompassed unpatentable subject matter and found that the claims were directed toward an abstract idea. "Plaintiff describes the patent as solving 'a problem particular to e-commerce by allowing consumers to design their own products as a way to drive on-line sales.'. . . Plaintiff claims that the [patent-in-suit] is not abstract because it is necessarily rooted in computer technology; rather, it is a method of facilitating sale to a potential customer over a computer network. . . . Presenting various iterations of products with different design elements in order to entice business is not computer or network specific. Furthermore, adding design elements to merchandise and displaying the merchandise is a method that can be performed by human thought alone, and previewing merchandise to potential customers is a longstanding economic practice. The [patent] is an abstract idea."