Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Patents for Finding Parking Spaces Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101

The court granted defendant's motion to dismiss because the asserted claims of plaintiff’s patents for finding parking spaces encompassed unpatentable subject matter and found that the claims lacked an inventive concept. "[T]he patents describe a system that uses parking space detectors . . . to send signals over the Internet that are received by a portable device . . . that indicates to the driver whether there are any open parking spaces in the lot, or not. . . . The essence of [plaintiff's] argument is that when these inventions were patented, mobile technology was in its infancy and because these patents were limited to that emerging field, they are patentable. . . . The seemingly ubiquitous problem of finding open parking spaces during the busy morning rush necessarily exists outside of the Internet, and outside computers altogether for that matter. Transmitting that data over the Internet to mobile devices might be useful, but it does not 'override[] the routine and conventional sequence of events' pertaining to finding a parking space. . . . With these patents, the driver merely looks to her mobile device rather than through her windshield. . . . At bottom, the [patents] describe the shuffling of one type of data over the Internet and with generic computer technology. Those basic computer functions are not directed to a computer-centric problem and thus are not patent-eligible under [Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l et al., 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014)] and § 101."

Open Parking, LLC v. ParkMe Inc., 2-15-cv-00976 (PAWD June 30, 2016, Order) (Hornak, J.)

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