TNS Media Research, LLC, et. al. v. TRA Global, Inc., 1-11-cv-04039 (NYSD November 29, 2016, Order) (Forrest, USDJ)
Thursday, December 1, 2016
Newly Assigned Judge Vacates Earlier Summary Judgment Invalidating Advertising Campaign Analysis Patents Under 35 U.S.C. § 101
The court sua sponte vacated the prior district judge's summary judgment order invalidating defendant's advertising campaign analysis patents for lack of patentable subject matter because the asserted claims were not directed toward an abstract idea. "The invention set forth in the [patent-in-suit], and claim 71 in particular, seeks to solve a known industry problem: determining the value proposition of an advertising campaign in today’s fragmented digital environment. . . . [C]laim 71 is not directed at an abstract idea of double-blind matching. . . . Instead, claim 71 is directed at the concrete idea that there are today numerous digital media platforms which can be mined for information about second-by-second or minute-by-minute household viewing; that data can be as granular as whether the volume is turned down during a commercial break, or whether the channel is switched away and then switched back. That viewing data can be gathered as to a substantial number of households -- privacy protected -- and compared to equally granular data on purchasing behavior, and then various analyses can be created that rely on this level of detail. This is no abstraction and is described [as] an advancement. . . . It is, of course, possible for a court to reduce the method to an abstract description of, for example, 'collecting viewing and purchasing data to analyze the utility of an advertising campaign.' Indeed, virtually any invention can be reduced to a concept. . . . The key question is whether the abstract summary embodies the totality of the invention is all that the invention is—in other words, is the invention nothing more than the abstract concept? Here, the answer is plainly no."