Merely collecting information and performing steps that people go through in their minds are abstract ideas that by themselves do not confer patent eligibility (Electric Power Group LLC v. Alstom S.A.).
In OIP Technologies, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc. (Federal Circuit Docket No. 2012-1696, decided 11 June 2015), the patent-in-suit, US Patent No. 7,970,713 (OIP patent), relates to a method of optimizing the price of a product for sale. The claims of the OIP patent recite processes such as sending messages over a network, gathering data with a machine-readable medium, and using a computer to read data from the machine-readable medium. However, the Federal Circuit determined that “[t]hese processes are well-understood, routine, conventional data-gathering activities that do not make the claims patent eligible.”
Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc., 572 U.S. ______ (2014) brings to light conflicting views on how to interpret the requirement of 35 USC 112, second paragraph, also known as the definiteness requirement. 35 USC 112, second paragraph, states that “[T]he specification shall conclude with one or more claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which the applicant regards as the invention.”
ScriptPro, LLC and ScriptPro USA, LLC (ScriptPro) accused Innovation Associates, Inc. (Innovation Associates) of infringing on claims 1, 2, 4, and 8 of their U.S. Patent No. 6,910,601 (’601 patent). The district court granted summary judgment to Innovation Associates on the basis that the asserted claims are invalid under 35 USC 112, first paragraph (or 35 USC 112(a) in the current statute). The district court based its holding on the conclusion that “the specification describes a machine containing ‘sensors,’ whereas the claims at issue claim a machine that need not have ‘sensors.’”
In Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l. (Docket No. 13-298, 2014), the petitioner, Alice Corporation, asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on a decision of the lower courts that claims drawn to a scheme for mitigating settlement risk are invalid, unenforceable, and therefore not infringed. The scheme involved use of a computer system as an intermediary.