Cioffi et al v. Google Inc., 2-13-cv-00103 (TXED January 9, 2017, Order) (Payne, MJ)
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Web Browser Security Patents Not Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101 at Summary Judgment Stage
The magistrate judge recommended denying defendant's motion for summary judgment on the ground that the asserted claims of plaintiff’s web browser security patents encompassed unpatentable subject matter because defendant did not establish that the claims were directed toward an abstract idea. "[Defendant] identifies four abstract ideas -- each at vastly different levels of generality -- to which claim 30 is supposedly directed. . . . It nevertheless remains to be fully determined whether the claims in fact represent an improvement to existing technology. . . . Whether a claim is unconventional is a highly-factual inquiry. . . . In any event, a jury trial will at least facilitate the Court’s determination of whether claim 30 is drawn to an abstract idea when the Court considers judgment as a matter of law. . . . To be clear, the Court is not postponing the determination of whether claim 30 is abstract until after trial. . . . The Court is applying the requisite threshold test -- but in the context of summary judgment. . . . A reasonable inference is that claim 30 is directed to a particularized method that is, as a factual matter, an improvement to existing computer-related technology. . . . [T]he specification of the [patent] describes existing methods for combating malware and explains how the claimed invention represents an unconventional improvement over these methods. . . . [Defendant's] argument rests on the false presumption that known computer components cannot be arranged unconventionally so as to take the invention away from the abstract."