Dealertrack, Inc. v. Huber, et al., Doc. No. 06-2335 (C.D. Cal. 2009) [PDF]
Summary. The court granted summary judgment finding the asserted claims directed to a computer aided method of managing a credit application were invalid as failing the machine-or-transformation test from Bilski. The court found the process claims were not tied to a particular machine.
Facts. The plaintiff DealerTrack, Inc. (“DealerTrack”) asserted that defendant’s Finance Express and RouteOne infringed three of DealerTrack’s patents, including U.S. Patent 7,181,427 [Link] (the “‘427 Patent”). The ‘427 patent provides a “computer based credit application processing system [that] provides a graphical user interface, automatic software update downloading, lender to lender routing of credit applications, and integration with in-house finance and insurance systems and third party data entry facilities, among other features.”
Claim 1 of the ‘427 patent provides:
A computer aided method of managing a credit application, the method comprising the steps of:
- receiving credit application data from a remote application entry and display device;
- selectively forwarding the credit application data to remote funding source terminal devices;
- forwarding funding decision data from at least one of theremote funding source terminal devices to the remote application entry and display device;
- wherein the selectively forwarding the credit application data step further comprises:
- sending at least a portion of a credit application to more than one of said remote funding sources substantially at the same time;
- sending at least a portion of a credit application to more than one of said remote funding sources sequentially until a finding [sic] source returns a positive funding decision;
- sending . . . a credit application . . . after a predetermined time . . . ; or;
- sending the credit application from a first remote funding source to a second remote finding [sic] source . . . .
DealerTrack arged that the claims of the ‘427 Patent were tied to a (1) central processor “consisting of a specially programmed computer hardware and database,” a (2) “remote application entry and display device,” and a “remote funding source terminal device.”
Central Processor Not Specially Programmed. The court stated, “The ‘427 Patent does not specify precisely how the computer hardware and database are ‘specially programmed,’ and the claimed central processor is nothing more than a general purpose computer that has been programmed in some unspecified manner.” See Ex Parte Nawathe, No. 2007-3360, 2009 WL 327520, (BPAI Feb. 9, 2009) (rejecting under Section 101 a claim reciting a “computerized method” of inputting and representing XML documents as insufficiently tied to “a particular computer specifically programmed for executing the steps of the claimed method”).
Not Tied to a Particular Machine. In an earlier claim construction order the court found:
- “remote application entry and display device” included “any device, e.g.,personal computer or dumb terminal, remote from the central processor, for application entry and display.”
- “terminal device” as “any device, e.g., personal computer or dumb terminal, located at a logical or physical terminus of the system.”
The court has little trouble finding these devices were not particular machines withing the meaning of Bilski after finding that these various “devices” include “any device.”