Digitech Image Technologies, LLC v. Electronics For Imaging, Inc., Decided by the Federal Circuit July 11, 2014:
Claim 1 recites: A device profile for describing properties of a device in a digital image reproduction system to capture, transform or render an image, said device profile comprising:
first data for describing a device de-pendent transformation of color information content of the image to a device independent color space; and
second data for describing a device de-pendent transformation of spatial in-formation content of the image in said device independent color space.
Court: “Claim 1 … recites an intangible arrangement of information, and therefore does not fall into any of the categories of § 101.” Further, claim 10 “recites a process of taking two data sets and combining them into a single data set, the device profile.” “[w]ithout additional limitations, a process that employs mathematical algorithms to manipulate existing information to generate additional information is not patent eligible.”
BUYSAFE, Inc. v. Google, Inc. Decided by Federal Circuit September 3, 2014
Claims for underwriting transactions over a computer network were ineligible under § 101. The creation of such financial relationships was an abstract idea and that the use of generic computing components such as a “computer application” or “computer networks” did not render that abstract idea patent-eligible.
Court stated e.g. “The claims’ invocation of computers adds no inventive concept. The computer functionality is generic—indeed, quite limited: a computer receives a request for a guarantee and transmits an offer of guarantee in return. There is no further detail. That a computer receives and sends the information over a network—with no further specification—is not even arguably inventive….At best, that narrowing is an “attempt to limit the use” of the abstract guarantee idea “to a particular technological environment,” which has long been held insufficient to save a claim in this context .
So what did Claim 1 actually state:
A method, comprising: receiving, by at least one computer application program running on a computer of a safe transaction service provider, a request from a first party for obtaining a transaction performance guaranty service with respect to an online commercial transaction following closing of the online commercial transaction;
processing, by at least one computer application program running on the safe transaction service provider computer, the request by underwriting the first party in order to provide the transaction performance guaranty service to the first party,
wherein the computer of the safe transaction service provider offers, via a computer network, the transaction performance guaranty service that binds a transaction performance guaranty to the online commercial transaction involving the first party to guarantee the performance of the first party following losing of the online commercial transaction.
Ultramercial, LLC v. Hulu, LLC, Decided by Federal Circuit November 14, 2014
In simplified terms, the Court characterized the invention as “a method for distributing copyrighted media products over the Internet where the consumer receives a copyrighted media product at no cost in exchange for viewing an advertisement, and the advertiser pays for the copyrighted content.”
The Court wrote e.g. that “[t]he process of receiving copyrighted media, selecting an ad, offering the media in exchange for watching the selected ad, displaying the ad, allowing the consumer access to the media, and receiving payment from the sponsor of the ad all describe an abstract idea, devoid of a concrete or tangible application.”
Court concluded also that “[a]dding routine additional steps such as updating an activity log, requiring a request from the consumer to view the ad, restrictions on public access, and use of the Internet does not transform an otherwise abstract idea into patent-eligible subject matter.” The claim included only “conventional steps, specified at a high level of generality.”