Archive | Software Patent News

USPTO: No Change to Software Patent Eligibility Examination After CLS Bank

In a memo dated May 13, 2013, the USPTO told its Patent Examining Corps that the Federal Circuit’s decision in CLS Bank v. Alice, Dkt. No. 2011-1301 (Fed. Cir. May 10, 2013) resulted in “no change in examination procedure for evaluating subject matter eligibility.”

On May 10, 2013 the Federal Circuit issued its en banc opinion in CLS Bank v. Alice, Dkt. No. 201. The court’s main per curiam opinion provided, in total:

Upon consideration en banc, a majority of the court affirms the district court’s holding that the asserted method and computer-readable media claims are not directed to eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. An equally divided court affirms the district court’s holding that the asserted system claims are not directed to eligible subject matter under
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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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Goggle Bids $900M for 6000 of Nortel’s Patents in Bankruptcy Auction

Goggle has bid $900M for Nortel’s patent portfolio, which is at auction in Nortel’s bankruptcy. Goggle said on its blog that it hopes that if its bid is successful that the Nortel patents (1) will create a disincentive for other to sue Goggle and (2) will provide a degree of freedom to operate to its partners and the open source community who have been involved in the Android and Chrome projects.

Google’s asserted reason for the attempt at acquisition–best defenses against patent litigation based on “low quality” patent is to have a formidable patent portfolio–is likely a true motive. The threat of counter-suit by a defendant can be deterrent to a competitor bringing the suit in the first place. However, threat of counter-suit is less–if at all–a factor when the …

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“Use” Infringment of a System Requires Control Sufficient to Put System in Service

Centrillion Data Systems LLC v. Quest Communications International, 2010-1110  (Fed. Cir.  Jan 20, 2010) [PDF]

This case addresses the issue of whether infringement may be found for a “use”–under 35 U.S.C. 271(a)– of a system claim, which includes elements in the possession of more than one actor, e.g., the service provider possesses some elements and the end user possesses other elements.

At issue in the case is Quest’s customer billing information systems. Centrilion asserts that Quest’s billing systems infringe U.S. Patent No. 5,287,270. Claim 1 of the ‘270 patent, at a high level, requires–as summarized by the court–a system for presenting information . . . to a user . . . comprising:  (1)  storage means for storing transaction records, (2) data processing means for generating summary reports as …

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19% of INC 500 Companies Report Holding Patents

Inc. Magazine reports, in its September 2010 issue that 19% of the companies ranked in the magazine’s “Inc 500” list hold patents. This is reported on page 188 of the print magazine as a part of the CEO survey. On page 126, it is reported that the CEO survey component of the Inc. 500 list comprises data drawn from 304 responses to an online survey of the CEOs of the companies listed in Inc. 500. This post looks at what the 19% figure means and what questions it leaves open.

Inc. lists the criteria used to determine whether a company qualified for consideration in the list. The list ranks companies based on revenue growth from 2006 through 2009. To qualify, the companies had to be generating revenue by June 30, …

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Software Patent News for January 27th

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Software Patent News for August 12th

  • Judge orders Microsoft to stop selling Word [CNET News]
    "A judge on Tuesday [August 11, 2008] ordered Microsoft to stop selling Word, one of its premier products, in its current form due to patent infringement. . . .

    [The Court] issued a permanent injunction that "prohibits Microsoft from selling or importing to the United States any Microsoft Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX or DOCM files (XML files) containing custom XML . . ."

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