Fitbit, Inc. v. AliphCom d/b/a Jawbone et al, 5-15-cv-04073 (CAND February 9, 2017, Order) (Davila, USDJ)
Monday, February 13, 2017
Wireless Device Pairing Patents Not Ineligible Under 35 U.S.C. § 101
The court denied defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings on the ground that plaintiff’s wireless device pairing patents encompassed unpatentable subject matter because the ordered combination of claim elements contained inventive concepts. "[Plaintiff's] asserted patents relate to a specific approach to pairing a wireless device, such as a wearable activity tracker, to a 'client' and/or 'server.' . . . All of the asserted claims recite a method or system for pairing that involves three discrete entities: a portable monitoring device, a 'client,' and a 'server.'. . . [N]one of the claim elements, assessed individually, provide an inventive concept. . . . Nevertheless, the Court agrees with [plaintiff] that the ordered combination of claim elements, interpreted in the light most favorable to [plaintiff], contains inventive concepts. . . . [O]ne problem that confronted the process of pairing small, portable devices was that they were 'purposefully designed to eliminate keyboards and multiple buttons in order to satisfy other design criteria.' Tapping overcame this problem in an inventive way because it took advantage of the inherent, technical capabilities of the portable monitoring device -- its ability to detect motion with a motion sensor -- to provide a manner of validating the device that was different from traditional forms of input (i.e., buttons and keyboards). . . . [T]he fact that tapping appears in the prior art does not prevent it from supplying an inventive concept here. Second, the use of a server as a part of the claimed pairing process supplies an inventive concept."