An 06 July 2015 CAFC decision involving 3 Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV) US patents.
The CAFC affirmed the lower court’s decision that the patents had ineligible subject matter, that is, a 35 U.S.C. § 101 rejection largely on the basis of “abstract idea” ala Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014).
The ‘137 patent application is very broad and close to a business method both of which are frowned upon. Basically the patent claims at issue dealt with a user setting spending limits in categories and being notified if those spending limits were exceeded. The court gave no weight to the user defined presets for spending limits or communications to the user. The idea was correctly classified as abstract – that of checking financial transactions against a preset limit and notifying if exceeded (computer aspects and communications methods were given no weight).
The ‘382 patent dealt with dynamically presenting a webpage tailored to an individual user. The webpage depicted portions of the website visited by the user based upon how the user navigated to the website and user personal characteristics. The court boiled it down to customizing based on “(1) information about the user and (2) navigation data”. IV blew it by admitting in oral arguments that predefined webpages were considered dynamic. Accordingly, the court likened predefined webpages to a morning and afternoon edition of a paper having different types of ads (or morning and late night TV with different ads) appealing to different audiences and so ruled it an abstract idea. Likely the court would have decided differently if the webpages were dynamically generated in “real time” and used more than just time of day in generating the webpages.
The ‘587 patent deals with scanning in hard copy photos with a header card denoting the category of the photos to follow, searching, and producing a product with the photos. The court failed to discuss the search or product aspect and upheld the lower court in a claim construction of the “machine readable instruction form” (the header card) and this patent was never really involved in this case as the parties had stipulated to non-infringement if the claim construction was upheld (which it was).