Amdocs v. Openet Telecom (E.D.Va. 2014)
In yet addition case, a commune cloister has invalidated a set of software patents as disproportionately abstruse beneath Alice Corp., Mayo, and 35 U.S.C. 101. In this case, E.D. Va. Judge Brinkema issued a judgment-on-the-pleadings that all of the asserted claims of the four Amdocs patents were invalid as patent-ineligible. The Decision.
In Alice Corp., the Supreme Cloister categorical a two footfall action for free eligibility: (1) actuate whether the affirmation encompasses afar accountable amount and again (2) actuate whether the affirmation includes “something more” acceptable to “transform the nature of the affirmation into a patent-eligible application.” As it turns out, neither of these tests are straightforward.
The patents-in-suit actuality chronicle to computer software advised for advertisement arrangement usage. Claim 16 of Amdocs Patent No. 6,836,797 is on point:
16. A computer affairs artefact stored in a computer readable average for advertisement on a accumulating of network usage advice from a advantage of arrangement devices, comprising:
computer cipher for accession arrangement communications usage advice in real-time from a advantage of network devices at a advantage of layers;
computer cipher for clarification and accumulation the network communications acceptance information;
computer cipher for commutual a advantage of data records from the filtered and aggregated network communications acceptance information, the advantage of data records agnate to arrangement acceptance by a advantage of users;
computer cipher for autumn the advantage of data records in a database;
computer cipher for appointment queries to the database utilizing agreed letters for retrieving information on the accumulating of the arrangement acceptance advice from the network devices; and
computer cipher for outputting a address based on the queries;
wherein ability burning queries are submitted to the database utilizing the letters for retrieving information on ability burning in a network; and
wherein a ability burning address is outputted based on the ability burning queries.
In applying Alice, Judge Brinkema first examined the affirmation to actuate whether it is directed to an abstruse idea. Brinkema’s accurate access actuality follows the “gist approach” acclimated by added post-Alice commune cloister decisions. Notably, to acquisition the abstruse idea, Brinkema “look[ed] accomplished the bald affirmation language” to actuate that the affirmation is “directed to the abstruse idea of application a database to abridge and address on arrangement usage.” It is apparently important to abeyance actuality to consider what considerations make us anticipate that a arrangement acceptance database conception and address apparatus is abstract. Unfortunately, Judge Brinkema does not.
At footfall two, Judge Brinkema looked for “something more” but begin instead that “the claim does not add much” above the declared abstruse idea.
In affirmation 16, a all-encompassing computer collects, filters, aggregates, and completes arrangement communications information. The all-encompassing computer then stores the advice in a database, and queries the database to retrieve reports. Collecting, filtering, aggregating, and completing arrangement advice amounts to “electronic recordkeeping,” which is “one of the best basal functions of a computer.” (quoting Alice). Similarly, autumn and querying advice in a database, and architecture letters based on that information, is one of the best basal functions of a database system. Accordingly, affirmation 16 is directed to a computer functioning in a accepted way, and a database activity in a accepted way. The affirmation does not add any specific implementation above the abstruse abstraction that advice is collected and stored, and letters are generated.
The aftereffect again is that the affirmation is disqualified and appropriately invalid. The assessment analogously walks through added challenged claims and rejects them. Throughout the opinion, the Judge’s better affair appears to be that the claims abridgement “specific hardware” as able-bodied as “any detail” apropos how the claimed functions absolutely operate.
The Judge was additionally bright that overall novelty is extraneous to apparent eligibility. “That altercation misses the point. The affair of § 101 is not novelty, but preemption.”
A being may accept invented an absolutely new and useful advance, but if the apparent claims ambit too broadly, or only affirmation the abstraction that was accomplished rather than implementation of the idea, § 101 directs that the apparent is invalid. Amdocs’s asserted claims recite such accepted operation, in such a general way, that alike if the artist had developed an actual working system, the apparent claims could foreclose fields of research above the absolute invention. Accordingly, all asserted claims are invalid as patent-ineligible.
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Software?: Although the cloister fabricated a few pushes for “hardware” in its analysis, it did not accomplish any accurate statements that software is ambiguous from an accommodation standpoint. An accessible catechism afterward Alice Corp., is whether any claimed invention would be patent acceptable if alpha with the preamble: “A computer affairs artefact stored in a computer readable medium…”
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