Automated Tracking Solutions, LLC v. ValidFill, LLC et al, 1-15-cv-04348 (GAND December 21, 2016, Order) (Duffey, USDJ)
Friday, December 23, 2016
RFID Tracking Patents Ineligible Under 35 U.S.C. § 101
The court granted defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings that the asserted claims of plaintiff’s RFID tracking patents encompassed unpatentable subject matter and found that the claims were directed toward an abstract idea. "According to [plaintiff], because all of the asserted claims 'require specialized physical hardware components as well as software,' the hardware elements necessarily make the claims 'in better standing than those found eligible in [Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp., 822 F.3d 1327 (Fed. Cir. 2016)].'. . . While both representative claims require physical components -- the RFID 'transponder,' 'reader,' and 'antenna' -- the specification makes clear that the recited physical components merely provide 'an environment in which to carry out the abstract idea.'. . . The specification does not address how the RFID technology itself is improved: it does not describe a new or improved RFID transponder, a new or improved RFID reader, or a new or improved RFID antenna. . . . Here, the focus of the claims is on certain abstract process for which computers are invoked merely as a means to achieve the ends. While the RFID technology employed by the invention was a rapidly developing technology at the time of the invention, the use of a conventional or generic computer in a nascent environment does not make the claims any less abstract."