Internet Patents Corporation v. Active Network, Inc. et al.

Docket No. 2014-1048, 2014-1061, 2014-1062, 2014-1063

June 23, 2015

Brief Summary: DC decision of patent ineligibility affirmed since claims are directed to “well-understood, routine, conventional activities previously known” and do not qualify as an “inventive concept” under Mayo/Alice/Bilski.

Summary: IPC appealed DC judgment that US 7,7070,505 is patent ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 under Alice Corp. (US 2014). The DC found the patent claims “the use of a conventional web browser Back and Forward navigational functionalities without data loss in an online application consisting of dynamically generated web pages.” The principle issue here was “whether the additional limitations in other claims of the ‘505 patent rescue [the method of claim 1] from ineligible abstraction.” IPC focused its appeal on the system’s maintenance of “virtual application information, relative dependencies, relative dependencies, and information context obtained and/or derived from each pane accessed by the user/applicant” (“the essential, ‘most important aspect’”). Whether a claim is patent eligible is considered under the “two-step analytical protocol introduced in Mayo” to determine if there is an “inventive concept” (Mayo, US 2012 (first, determine if the claims are directed to a patent-ineligible concept (laws of nature, natural phenomena, abstract ideas); second, whether the claims “‘transform the nature of the claim’ into a patent eligible application” (also referring to Bilski and Alice). The FC opinion explains how the DC “applied these principles to the IPC claims.” And the FC agreed with the DC that “the idea of retaining information in the navigation of online forms” “is an abstract idea”. Under Mayo, “well-understood, routine, conventional activities previously known” do not qualify as an “inventive concept”. Here, “[t]he specification also refers to the Back and Forward functionality as ‘well-known’ and ‘common’” and “claim 1 contains no restriction on how the result is accomplished” (“The mechanism for maintaining the state is not described, although this is stated to be the essential innovation.”) The dependent claims were not found to “add an inventive concept, for the represent merely generic data collection steps or siting the ineligible concept in a particular technological environment” (“‘[s]imply appending conventional steps, specified at a high level of generality’, was not ‘enough’ to supply an ‘inventive concept’” (Alice)). Thus, the DC decision of patent ineligibility was affirmed.

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