Judge Andrews Denies Motion to Dismiss for Unpatentable Subject Matter

June 5, 2019

Publication| Intellectual Property

In RICPI Communications LLC v. JPS Interoperability Solutions, Inc., No. 18-1507-RGA (Mar. 18, 2019), Judge Andrews denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss for claiming unpatentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The challenged patent concerned radio-over-internet protocol.

The defendant argued that the challenged claims were directed to the abstract idea of “establishing a two-way connection over a network to send and receive data.” Under Alice Step 1, the Court found that the claims did not fall within the categories that have been held to constitute abstract ideas, namely, algorithms, methods of organizing human activity, and fundamental economic practices. According to Judge Andrews, the patent did not claim an abstract idea implemented on a generic computer system, as the use of a computer or internet connection was only one element of a “concrete system.” In response to the defendant’s contention that the claims covered only an end result by using functional language, the Court pointed to examples of machines and other structure disclosed both in the claims and the specification that prevented the mere claiming of a result. Finally, Judge Andrews rejected the argument that the claims pre-empted all two-way communication of data over the internet, stating that the claims were limited to specific methods and systems for carrying out communications, of which computer networks were one element.

Key Point: Although finding that the claims were not abstract under Alice Step 1, Judge Andrews still proceeded to the Alice Step 2 analysis, finding that the arrangement of the claim elements was not conventional even though the specification described each element in itself as conventional.

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