International Business Machines Corporation v. The Priceline Group, Inc. et al, 1-15-cv-00137 (DED February 16, 2016, Order) (Burke, M.J.)
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Network Communication Patent Not Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101
The magistrate judge recommended denying without prejudice defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of patentable subject matter and rejected the argument that plaintiff's network communication patent was directed toward an abstract idea because the claimed steps could be implemented in a "brick and mortar" scenario. "Defendants placed significant stock in their assertion that the claim's steps can be easily implemented in a 'non-computerized 'brick and mortar'' context: that of a customer's placement of a telephonic order with a merchant. . . . [A] telephone conversation between two individuals is not a 'stateless protocol'. . . . [T]he very core of the problem that claim 1 is attempting to address -- how to retain state in computer-based communications that would not otherwise be able do so -- is not necessarily even a problem at all in Defendants' proposed brick and mortar scenario. . . . [I] would be hard to describe Defendants' scenario as involving the application of a 'well-known and widely applied business practice' to the computer realm. It is obviously possible, of course, for a merchant to repeat back all of the information a customer has previously shared with him, each time the customer seeks to order an additional item from the merchant. But it is hard to argue that this is the way that humans typically communicate in the real world."