Trading Technologies Int., Inc. v. CQG, Inc. et al.

Docket No. 2016-1616

January 18, 2017


Brief Summary: DC finding that claims to trading technology software is patentable subject matter affirmed.

Summary: CQG appealed DC decision that US 6,772,132 and 6,766,304 relating to “a method for displaying market information” are patent eligible. Under Alice (US 2014), a “claim falls outside § 101 where (1) it is ‘directed to’ a patent-ineligible concept, i.e., a law of nature, natural phenomenon, or abstract idea, and (2), if so, the particular elements of the claim, considered ‘both individually and “as an ordered combination,”’ do not add enough to ‘transform the nature of the claim’ into a patent-elgible application.” Regarding the first step, the DC concluded that “the challenged patents ‘solve problems of prior graphical user interface devices…in the context of computerized trading[] relating speed, accuracy and usability” (“no ‘pre-electronic trading analog,” claims “recite more than ‘setting, displaying, and selecting’ data or information that is visible on the [graphical user interface] device”) and do not recite “a mathematical algorithm,” “a fundamental economic or longstanding commercial practice,” or “a challenge in business”. It therefore “concluded the claims meet the eligibility standards of Alice Step 1” and the FC agreed (Mayo, FC 2012 (“the patent must ‘amount to significantly more in practice than a patent upon the [ineligible concept itself]’”)). The DC also found Alice’s second step was met, distinguishing the “system from the routine or conventional use of computers or the Internet…removed from abstract ideas, as compared to conventional computer implementations of known procedures” (“Precedent has recognized that specific technologic modifications to solve a problem or improve the functioning of a known system generally produce patent-eligible subject matter.” DDR Holdings, FC 2014; “Similarly, ‘claimed process[es] us[ing] a combined order of specific rules’ that improved on existing technological processes were deemed patent-eligible in McRO” (FC 2016); Enfish, FC 2016 (claims “directed to a specific improvement to the way computers operate, embodied in [a] self-referential table”)). The FC panel agreed since the claims are not “drawn to idea itself” (Affinity Labs, FC 2016; Apple, Inc. v. Ameranth, Inc., FC 2016; Electric Power, FC 2016)), noting that “at some level, all inventions…embody, use, reflect, rest upon, or apply laws of nature, natural phenomena, or abstract ideas” (Alice, US 2014; BASCOM, FC 2016). Further, “precedent does not consider the substantive criteria of patentability” and “the claimed graphical user interface method imparts a specific functionality to a trading system ‘directed to a specific implementation of a solution to a problem in the software arts”.

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