DDR Holdings LLC v. Hotels.com
I am belatedly adding the DDR Holdings LLC v. Hotels.com decision, since I regularly find it useful in showing software patentability. In DDR, the court held that matching a look and feel was not abstrct.
Federal Circuit Finds Claims Not Abstract in Visual Memory v. NVIDIA
The Federal Circuit found that the patent in Visual Memory LLC v. NVIDIA Corporation was patentable subject matter, reversing the district court invalidation under Alice. The court found that although brief, computer improvements were claimed.
Federal Circuit Weighs in on Indefiniteness in In Re Walter
The Federal Circuit agreed with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board's (PTAB) rejection of claims as indefinite in In Re: David Walter. Mr. Walter argued that the cited art did not teach a "block-like" artificial reef, while the examiner found that "block-like" was indefinite. The court noted:
Here, “block-like” is a term of degree without any accompanying guidance in the intrinsic record for determining its scope. The term ostensibly covers a range of shapes that are sufficiently “like” a “block” and excludes those that are not. But nothing in the intrinsic record offers “objective boundaries” for ascertaining whether a given shape falls into either category.
Federal Circuit Invalidates Patent in Intellectual Ventures v. Erie
The Federal Circuit agreed that the claims in the patent in Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Erie Indemnity Co. were invalid under Alice as an abstract idea. Intellectual Ventures (IV) argued that the claims were directed to "...specific search architecture that improves how computer databases function..." by using XML tags to generate an index, and that this was similar to the improvement of function in Enfish.
The court noted "The claims are not focused on how usage of the XML tags alters the database in a way that leads to an improvement in the technology of computer databases, as in Enfish. Instead, the claims simply call for XML-specific tags in the index without any further detail." The court further concluded "The focus of the claims, therefore, remains at a high level on searching a database using an index. The inclusion of XML tags as the chosen index building block, with little more, does not change that conclusion."
The decision highlights the importance of including technical detail in patent claims. A representative claim is listed below. Read the decision here.
1. A method for creating a database and an index to search the database, comprising the steps of:
creating the index by defining a plurality of XML tags including domain tags and category tags;
creating a first metafile that corresponds to a first domain tag; and
creating the database by providing a plurality of records, each record having an XML index component.
Federal Circuit Narrowly Concludes Challenger Must Show Unpatentability in Aqua Products
An en banc panel of the Federal Circuit concluded that the challenger must show that amended claims in an inter partes review (IPR) are unpatentable, reversing the USPTO rule that the patent owner must show that an proposed amendments were patentable. The majority decision also held that “Congress made clear that patent owners may propose amendments to their patents as of right at least once in an IPR.” On the issue of whether deferrence should be given to the USPTO rules regarding amendments, the decision also concluded that "Because a majority of the judges participating in this en banc proceeding believe the statute is ambiguous on this point, we conclude in the alternative that there is no interpretation of the statute by the Director of the Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) to which this court must defer ..." Read the very lengthy decision here.