Device Enhancement LLC v. Amazon.com Inc., 1-15-cv-00762 (DED May 17, 2016, Order) (Robinson, J.)
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Remote Terminal Operation Patent Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101
The court granted defendant's motion to dismiss because the asserted claims of plaintiff’s remote terminal operation patent encompassed unpatentable subject matter because it "would pre-empt substantially all uses of the underlying ideas at issue." "The [patent-in-suit] 'relates to a method and system for allowing a user of a terminal device to remotely operate upgraded and/or advanced applications without the need for upgrading the client side application or computational resource.' . . . [T]he disclosures of the [patent] are at the macro-level, that is, the patented method uses computerized devices (of any type) in conventional ways (installation of applications, data exchange, and data processing) without delineating any particular way of putting the ideas into practice. . . . [A] distinction must be drawn between claims that seek to pre-empt the use of an abstract idea, and claims that seek only to foreclose others from using a particular application of that idea. Here, it appears that the [patent] pre-empts virtually all possible ways of performing the claimed method because the very steps of the method comprise nothing more specific than the underlying idea itself. In other words, 'the claim's tie to a digital computer [does] not reduce the pre-emptive footprint of the claim since all uses of the [idea are] still covered by the claim.'"