2-Way Computing, Inc. v. Grandstream Networks, Inc., 2-16-cv-01110 (NVD October 18, 2016, Order) (Jones, USDJ)
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Computer Audio Communication Patent Not Ineligible Under 35 U.S.C. § 101
The court denied defendant's motion to dismiss on the ground that plaintiff’s computer audio communication system patent encompassed unpatentable subject matter because the asserted claims were not directed toward an abstract idea. "The question of unpatentability of abstract ideas under [Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014)] is not whether an invention can be understood or described in the abstract, i.e., in one’s mind (any patent claim that could not be would fail for lack of enablement), but whether the invention can be practiced in the abstract (mathematical calculations, risk-hedging, etc). The Court is not convinced that Claim 1 is directed to an abstract concept. Rather, it is directed to a concrete, physical task. . . . [C]onverting sound to electronically stored information (and vice versa after transmitting data between two computers) is not something that can be done without the claimed apparatus (or a similar apparatus). The 'computer station' claimed here is not utilized simply for its generalized computing capabilities, i.e., its ability to substitute for a human mind, pencils and paper, etc. to perform an abstract task. On the contrary, Claim 1 uses the computer station for a particular, concrete method of communication inherently tied to a machine with particular physical capabilities. . . . Sound waves are not abstract concepts but fluctuations in air pressure in the physical world. Nor are electronic data packets abstract concepts."