Tag Archives | 2012 Patent Cases

Federal Circuit to Consider When A Computer-Implemented Invention Is Patentable

CLS Bank International v. Alice Corporation, No. 2011-1301 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (Order granting en banc rehearing).

The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has granted an en banc rehearing in the CLS Bank case. As I previously discussed, the majority of a panel found CLS patents directed to using an intermediary in a financial transaction were valid and enforceable. The majority asserted that “when-after taking all the claim recitations into consideration-it is not manifestly evident that the claim is directed to a patent ineligible abstract idea, that claim must not be deemed for that reason to be inadequate under  § 101.” The dissent criticized the majority’s manifestly evident test.

The result in CLS Bank appeared to be in conflict with a prior panel’s decision in Bankcorp v.

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Method of Managing Stable Value Protected Life Insurance Policy Found Not Patentable

Bankcorp v. Sun Life, No. 2011-1467 (Fed. Cir. 2012) [PDF].

Bankcorp sued Sun alleging infringement of U.S. Patent 5,926,792 and 7,249,037. The patents are directed to methods and systems for administering and tracking the value of life insurance policies.  The district court found both patents invalid as claiming an unpatentable abstract idea under section 101. The Federal Circuit agreed.

Background: Life Insurance Policies. The claims are directed to dealing with a particular type of life insurance plan where the policy owner pays additional premiums beyond that required to fund the death benefit and specifies the type of investment assets in which the additional premiums are invested. This arrangement provide certain tax-advantages. However, the value of this type of policy will fluctuate with the market value of the …

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New Manifestly Evident Test Maintains Broad View of Patent Eligible Subject Matter

CLS Bank International v. Alice Corporation, Dkt No. 2011-1301 (Fed Cir. July 9, 2012) [11-1301 Opinion]. 

CLS sued Alice for declaratory judgement that  U.S. Patent No. 5,970,479, 6,912,510, 7,149,720, and 7,725,375 owned by Alice were invalid, unenforceable, or otherwise not infringed. The district court held that each of Alice’ s patents were invalid under section 101 for failure to claim patent eligible subject matter. The Federal Circuit reversed maintaining a broad view of patentable subject matter.

Representative Claim 33 of the ‘497 patent provides: A method of exchanging obligations as between parties, each party holding a credit record and a debit record with an exchange institution, the credit records and debit records for exchange of predetermined obligations, the method comprising the steps of:

(a) creating a shadow

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MySpace and Craigslist Invalidate Patents on Database with User Creatable and Categorizable Entries

MySpace, Inc. v. Graphon Corp., Dkt. No. 2011-1149 (Fed. Cir. March 2, 2012).

MySpace and Craigslist sued Graphon for declaratory judgement of non-infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,324,538, 6,850,940, 7,028,034, and 7,269,591 (patents in suit). Graphon counterclaimed for patent infringement. The district court found the claims at issue in the patents in suit were invalid as either anticipated or obvious based upon a system called the Mother of all Bulletin Boards (MBB) and the Federal Circuit agreed.

User Manipulable Database Entries. The patents in suit were directed to a method and apparatus that allowed a user to create, modify, and search for a database record over a computer network. The inventors of the patents in suit claimed the prior systems, like Yahoo! directory, provided that the search engine operator …

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“For” Interpreted as Must Perform v. Capable of Performing

Typhoon Touch v. Dell Inc., et al., Dkt. No. 2009-1589 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 4, 2011).

Typhoon sued Dell, Lenovo, San Due Ventures, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Panasonic, Apple, and HTC alleging infringement of US Pat. Nos. 5,379,057 and 5,675,362, each patent directed to a portable computer with touch screen. The appeals court reviewed the district courts finding of non-infringement and invalidity.

Claim 12 of the ‘057 patent is a representative claim, with terms in dispute emphasized:

A portable, keyboardless, computer comprising:

an input/output device for displaying inquiries on a touch-sensitive screen, said screen configured for entry of responses to said inquiries;

a memory for storing at least one data collection application configured to determine contents and formats of said inquiries displayed on said screen;

a processor coupled to said memory and said in-put/output

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Sufficient Computer Structure Disclosure for Means-Plus-Function Elements

HTC Corp v. IPCom GMBH, Dkt. No. 2011-1004 (Fed. Cir. Jan 30, 2012) [PDF].

HTC sue IPcom for declaratory judgement of non-infringement of IPCom’s Patents, including U.S. Pat. No. 6,879,830 and IPCom countersued for infringement. The ‘830 patent is directed to the handover of a cellular phone from one base (tower) to another, as for example, when a person uses a cell phone in a car traveling between coverage areas.  The invention is intended to reduce the chance of service interruption during the handover.

Claim 1 provides:

A mobile station for use with a network including a first base station and a second base station that achieves a handover from the first base station to the second base station by:

storing link data for a link in a

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High Bar for Implied Redefinition of Claim Term

Thorner v. Sony Computer, Dkt. No. 2011-1114 (Fed. Cir. Feb 1, 2012) [PDF].

Craig Thorner and Virtual Reality Feedback Co. sued Sony Corporation alleging  Sony’s game controllers with tactile feedback infringed U.S. Patent No. 6,422,941. On appeal Thorner argued that the district court erred in the construction of two term from claim 1.

Claim 1 provides in relevant part:

In a computer or video game system, apparatus for providing, in response to signals generated by said computer or video game system, a tactile sensation to a user of said computer or video game system, said apparatus comprising:

a flexible pad;
a plurality of actuators, attached to said pad, for selectively generating tactile sensation; and
a control circuit . . . for generating a control signal to control

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