Covered Business Method

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Called Third Strike, Is the PTO Director Out? Federal Circuit Again Rejects Intervenor’s Argument that it Lacks Jurisdiction to Review Qualifications for CBM Review

The Federal Circuit has rejected for the third time efforts by the Director of the PTO to preclude appellate review of whether challenged patent claims were properly deemed “covered business methods,” and thereby subject to CBM review.  Previously, in Versata Development Group, Inc. v. SAP America, Inc., the Federal Circuit concluded that its jurisdiction to … Continue Reading

District Court Denies Recovery of PTAB Costs in Non-Exceptional Case

On January 5, a district court denied defendant Westlake Services, LLC’s Motion for recovery of costs related to CBM petitions that invalidated certain of the patent claims asserted in the pending litigation and prompted plaintiff to voluntarily dismiss the district court case. Credit Acceptance Corp. v. Westlake Services, LLC, Case 13cv01523 (C.D. Cal. January 5, … Continue Reading

Estoppel Applied in Second CBM to Later-Obtained Patent and Evidence

Six days after issuing a final decision holding the claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,711,100 unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. § 101 in a first CBM review, Square, Inc. v. Unwired Planet, LLC, CBM2014-00156, (PTAB Dec. 22, 2015), the PTAB issued a decision denying institution in a second CBM Petition filed by the same Petitioner for … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Affirms PTAB’s Victory on Invalidity Ground the Petition Did Not Even Present

In SightSound Techs., LLC v. Apple Inc., Appeal Nos. 2015-1159, -1160 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 15, 2015), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s final written decisions in two CBM patent review proceedings that canceled claims in SightSound’s patents as being obvious over prior art (referred to as the CompuSonics publications), even though Apple did not present … Continue Reading

PTAB to Shakespeare: “ ‘What’s in a Name?’ Are you Kidding? Everything!”

Shakespeare’s Juliet famously observes, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  The PTAB begs to differ. While a generic computing device may not render abstract claims patentable, introduce it with a fancy nom de guerre and you have got yourself patentable subject matter.… Continue Reading

Institution Decisions are Nonappealable. Settled? Maybe Not Yet.

The ability to appeal the determination on institution of an IPR is expressly limited by statute. 35 U.S.C. § 314(d) states: “The determination by the Director whether to institute an inter partes review under this section shall be final and nonappealable.” An identically-phrased limitation is also applicable to PGR institution decisions at 35 U.S.C. § … Continue Reading

PTAB Refuses to Terminate AIA Trial Despite Applying the Estoppel Provision to Dismiss the Petitioner

The PTAB recently issued an order applying the estoppel provision of the AIA (35 U.S.C. § 325(e)(1)) to dismiss a petitioner from covered business method (CBM) patent review proceedings a few days before a consolidated final hearing. Apple Inc. v. Smartflash LLC, CBM2015-00015, Paper 49 (PTAB Nov. 4, 2015) (common order involving CBM2015-00016 and CBM2015-00018). … Continue Reading

A 200% Increase in Appeals of Patent Office Decisions to the Federal Circuit

In August of 2012, the Federal Register published the Patent Office’s estimate of the number of AIA trial petitions the Office then expected to receive in each of the three succeeding fiscal years (each such year ends September 30). In October of 2015, the Patent Office published a report of the number of trial petitions … Continue Reading

IPO Annual Meeting Panel Spars Over Fairness of Current IPR System

Welcome to all of you who are new readers joining us from the IPO Annual Meeting (#IPOAM15). I hope that your time in Chicago was enjoyable and that you will add us to your RSS feeds or bookmark the blog and return often. For those who were unable to attend, the Tuesday panel titled “Post … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Affirms Seven CBM Decisions

In a non-precedential decision issued on August 24, 2015, the Federal Circuit affirmed the final decisions of the PTAB in seven overlapping covered business method patent reviews. In those reviews, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company challenged claims in five patents owned by Progressive Casualty Insurance Company, all directed to pricing automobile insurance based on vehicle use … Continue Reading

Suppliers Can Lack Standing to Seek CBM Review on Behalf of Customers

In several recent decisions, the PTAB has clarified the standing required to file petitions seeking Covered Business Method review.  Under the AIA, standing to seek Covered Business Method review is limited to those charged with infringement and their “privies.”  “Privies,” however, do not encompass merely any party with whom the petitioner is in “privity.”  “Privies” … Continue Reading

PTAB Denies CBM Petition for Lack of Standing, Interpreting “Privies” as Customers and Not Suppliers

Acxiom Corp. v. Phoenix Licensing LLC (CBM2015-00068, Paper 23) presents a rare denial of a petition for covered business method review (as of June 25, 2015, CBM petitions are granted at a rate of over 70%).  In denying the petition,  the PTAB stressed that, to have standing, a petitioner must have been sued (or threatened … Continue Reading

Dissent in SAP v. Versata: Federal Circuit Lacks Authority to Review Whether Challenged Patent is Subject to CBM Proceedings

As reported earlier, the Federal Circuit recently affirmed the PTAB’s final written decision in SAP v. Versata, No. 2014-1194 (Fed. Cir. 2015), its first final written decision in a CBM review. As part of that decision, the Court determined that it had jurisdiction to determine whether the patent at issue was a “covered business method … Continue Reading

PTAB Allows Second Chance to Prove Patent is a Covered Business Method

Should a Petitioner who failed to obtain institution be allowed to refile and try again? When the initial failure was in proof that a patent is a covered business method (CBM) patent, the Board allowed a second petition to proceed. After the Board initially denied institution (CBM2014-00084), Motorola Mobility successfully obtained institution of a new … Continue Reading

Will Anyone Succeed on a Request for Rehearing of a Final Written Decision?

Although parties continue to file Requests for Rehearing of the PTAB’s Final Written Decision, none have yet succeeded in changing the outcome. According to Docket Navigator (, to date, 19 motions for rehearing of the Final Written Decision have been filed. Only one, in McLinton Energy Group, LLC v. Magnum Oil Tools International, Ltd., IPR … Continue Reading

Digital Rights Patent Declared Patent Eligible Under DDR Holdings

Prior to the Federal Circuit’s opinion in DDR Holdings, LLC v., L.P., 773 F.3d 1245 (Fed. Cir. 2014), software and Internet patents seemed on a relentless march towards ineligibility.  The Federal Circuit’s decision in DDR Holdings tapped the brakes on this skid towards elimination, and suggested that claims to the implementation of long established economic … Continue Reading

Apple Argues to Federal Circuit a Stay of Litigation in Favor of CBM Review Should Be Nearly Automatic, Whatever the Stage of the Litigation

In appealing the denial of its request that further litigation in the Eastern District of Texas be stayed in favor of recently instituted CBM review, Apple has urged the Federal Circuit to ignore the fact that trial had already occurred, and a jury verdict rendered, in the Texas action.  In its appeal brief, Apple argues … Continue Reading

Petitioners Are Not Faring Well on 112-challenges in CBM Review

The transitional program for covered business method (CBM) patents is a review proceeding administered by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to reconsider the patentability of one or more claims in a CBM patent. Petitioners seeking CBM review have enjoyed good success in knocking out claims for reciting subject matter ineligible for a patent. They … Continue Reading

PTAB Cancels Metasearch Patents Under Section 101, Rejecting Arguments That Purported Novel Combination Directed to an Abstract Idea is Patent Eligible and That CBM Procedure Violates the Seventh Amendment

On May 22, 2015, the PTAB issued its final written decision in American Express Co. v. Lunenfeld, CBM2014-00050 (Paper 51), canceling six claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,239,451 directed to online metasearching.  The PTAB decided that all six claims are unpatentable under 35 USC § 101, and obvious under 35 USC § 103.  The PTAB characterized the … Continue Reading