LIFO List of Statutory/Non-Statutory Software Patent Claims
The following is a LIFO (last in first out) list of Post-Bilski Federal Circuit software patent claims with statutory/non-statutory labels, links and reasoning from the respective cases. Thoughts on a coherent synthesis?
Claim 1: A life insurance policy management system comprising:
a policy generator for generating a life insurance policy including a stable value protected investment with an initial value based on a value of underlying securities of the stable value protected investment;
a fee calculator for calculating fees for members of a management group which manage the life insurance policy;
a credit calculator for calculating credits for the stable value protected investment of the life insurance policy;
an investment calculator for determining an investment value and a value of the underlying securities of the stable value protected investment for the current day;
a policy calculator for calculating a policy value and a policy unit value for the current day;
digital storage for storing the policy unit value for the current day; and
a debitor for removing a value of the fees for members of the management group which manages the life insurance policy.
Non-Statutory – Bancorp Services v. Sun Life Assurance (July 26, 2012) “As we explained above, the computer limitations do not play a “significant part” in the performance of the claimed invention. And unlike in CLS, the claims here are not directed to a “very specific application” of the inventive concept; as noted, Bancorp seeks to broadly claim the unpatentable abstract concept of managing a stable value protected life insurance policy.”
Claim 33: A method of exchanging obligations as between parties, each party holding a credit record and a debit record with an exchange institution, the credit records and debit records for exchange of predetermined obligations, the method comprising the steps of:
(a) creating a shadow credit record and a shadow debit record for each stakeholder party to be held independently by a supervisory institution from the exchange institutions;
(b) obtaining from each exchange institution a start-of-day balance for each shadow credit record and shadow debit record;
(c) for every transaction resulting in an exchange obligation, the supervisory institution adjusting each respective party’s shadow credit record or shadow debit record, allowing only these [sic] transactions that do not result in the value of the shadow debit record being less than the value of the shadow credit record at any time, each said adjustment taking place in chronological order; and
(d) at the end-of-day, the supervisory institution instructing one of the exchange institutions to exchange credits or debits to the credit record and debit record of the respective parties in accordance with the adjustments of the said permitted transactions, the credits and debits being irrevocable, time invariant obligations placed on the exchange institutions.
Statutory – CLS Bank v. Alice (July 9, 2012) – “it is difficult to conclude that the computer limitations here do not play a significant part in the performance of the invention or that the claims are not limited to a very specific application of the concept of using an intermediary to help consummate exchanges between parties. The dissent criticizes the majority for failing to explain “why the specific computer implementation in this case brings the claims within patentable subject matter,” Dissent 3, but this criticism is misplaced. The limitations of the claims as a whole, not just the computer implementation standing alone, are what place meaningful boundaries on the meaning of the claims in this case. The asserted claims appear to cover the practical application of a business concept in a specific way, which requires computer implemented steps of exchanging obligations maintained at an exchange…”
Claim 1: A method of creating a real estate investment instrument adapted for performing tax-deferred exchanges comprising: (1) aggregating title to real property to form a real estate portfolio; (2) encumbering the property in the real estate portfolio with a master agreement; and (3) creating a plurality of deedshares by dividing title in the real estate portfolio into a set of tenant-in-common deeds, each of the plurality of deedshares subject to a provision in the master agreement for reaggregating the plurality of tenant-in-common deeds after a specified interval.
Claim 32: A method of creating a real estate investment instrument adapted for performing tax-deferred exchanges comprising:
acquiring real property;
encumbering the real property with a master agreement; and
using a computer to generate a plurality of deedshares by generating a plurality of tenant-in-common deeds of at least one predetermined denomination that divide title in the real property into a plurality of tenant-in-common interests, each of the plurality of tenant-in-common deeds being subject to a provision in the master agreement for reaggregating the plurality of tenant-in-common deeds after a specified interval.
Non-Statutory – Fort Properties v. American Master Lease (Feb. 27, 2012) – An abstract concept cannot be transformed into patentable subject matter merely because of connections to the physical world through deeds, contracts and real property. Also, claims 32-41, which required a computer to generate a plurality of deedshares, did not “‘play a significant part in permitting the claimed method to be performed’…Without more, claims 32-41 cannot qualify to be patent eligible.”
Claim 1: A computer aided method of managing a credit application, the method comprising the steps of: [A] receiving credit application data from a remote application entry and display device; [B] selectively forwarding the credit application data to remote funding source terminal devices; [C] forwarding funding decision data from at least one of the remote funding source terminal devices to the remote application entry and display device; [D] wherein the selectively forwarding the credit application data step further comprises: [D1] sending at least a portion of a credit application to more than one of said remote funding sources substantially at the same time; [D2] sending at least a portion of a credit application to more than one of said remote funding sources sequentially until a finding [sic, funding] source returns a positive funding decision; [D3] sending at least a portion of a credit application to a first one of said remote funding sources, and then, after a predetermined time, sending to at least one other remote funding source, until one of the finding [sic, funding] sources returns a positive funding decision or until all funding sources have been exhausted; or, [D4] sending the credit application from a first remote funding source to a second remote finding [sic, funding] source if the first funding source declines to approve the credit application.
Non-Statutory – Dealertrack, Inc. v. David L. Huber and Finance Express (Jan. 20, 2012) – “Simply adding a ‘computer-aided’ limitation to a claim covering an abstract concept, without more, is insufficient to render the claim patent eligible.”
Claim 12: A method of reducing a step of visibility computations in 3-D computer graphics from a perspective of a viewpoint, the method comprising:
computing, before said step and from said perspective, the visibility of at least one entity selected from 3-D surfaces and sub-elements of said 3-D surfaces, wherein said computing step comprises:
employing at least one projection plane for generating projections with said selected set of 3-D surfaces and said sub-elements with respect to said perspective; identifying regions on said at least one projection plane, wherein said regions are related to the projections associated with said selected 3-D surfaces, said sub-elements, or bounding volumes of said 3-D surfaces or said sub-elements;
updating data related to said regions in computer storage; and
deriving the visibility of at least one of said 3-D surfaces or said sub-elements from the stored data in said computer storage; and
skipping, at said step of visibility computations, at least an occlusion relationship calculation for at least one entity that has been determined to be invisible in said computing step.
Non-Statutory – FuzzySharp v. 3DLabs (Nov. 4, 2011) – a reference to a basic computer function in the claim (the ability to compute and store data in memory) “does not confine the preemptive effect of the claim because the underlying method has ‘no substantial practical application except in connection with a digital computer.’ Those limitations are therefore not ‘meaningful limits’ on the claim’s scope.”
Claim 1: A method for distribution of products over the Internet via a facilitator, said method comprising the steps of: (1) a first step of receiving, from a content provider, media products that are covered by intellectual property rights protection and are available for purchase, wherein each said media product being comprised of at least one of text data, music data, and video data; (2) a second step of selecting a sponsor message to be associated with the media product, said sponsor message being selected from a plurality of sponsor messages, said second step including accessing an activity log to verify that the total number of times which the sponsor message has been previously presented is less than the number of transaction cycles contracted by the sponsor of the sponsor message; (3) a third step of providing the media product for sale at an Internet website; (4) a fourth step of restricting general public access to said media product; (5) a fifth step of offering to a consumer access to the media product without charge to the consumer on the precondition that the consumer views the sponsor message; (6) a sixth step of receiving from the consumer a request to view the sponsor message, wherein the consumer submits said request in response to being offered access to the media product; (7) a seventh step of, in response to receiving the request from the consumer, facilitating the display of a sponsor message to the consumer; (8) an eighth step of, if the sponsor message is not an interactive message, allowing said consumer access to said media product after said step of facilitating the display of said sponsor message; (9) a ninth step of, if the sponsor message is an interactive message, presenting at least one query to the consumer and allowing said consumer access to said media product after receiving a response to said at least one query; (10) a tenth step of recording the transaction event to the activity log, said tenth step including updating the total number of times the sponsor message has been presented; and (11) an eleventh step of receiving payment from the sponsor of the sponsor message displayed.
Statutory – Ultramercial v. Hulu and WildTangent (Sept. 15, 2011) – Many of the claimed steps are likely to require “intricate and complex” computer programming. Certain claimed steps require specific application to the Internet and a cyber-market environment. “Viewing the subject matter as a whole, the invention involves an extensive computer interface.”
Claim 3: A method for verifying the validity of a credit card transaction over the Internet comprising the steps of:
a) obtaining information about other transactions that have utilized an Internet address that is identified with the credit card transaction;
b) constructing a map of credit card numbers based upon the other transactions; and
c) utilizing the map of credit card numbers to determine if the credit card transaction is valid.
Non-Statutory – CyberSource v. Retail Decisions (Aug. 16, 2011) “(i)t is clear that unpatentable mental processes are the subject matter of Claim 3. All of Claim 3’s method steps can be performed in the human mind, or by a human using a pen and paper. Claim 3 does not limit its scope to any particular fraud protection algorithm, and no algorithms are disclosed in the ‘154 patent’s specification. Rather, the broad scope of Claim 3 extends to essentially any method of detecting credit card fraud based on information relating past transactions to a particular ‘Internet address,’ even methods that can be performed in the human mind.”
Claim 1: A method for the halftoning of gray scale images by utilizing a pixel-by-pixel comparison of the image against a blue noise mask in which the blue noise mask is comprised of a random non-deterministic, non-white noise single valued function which is designed to produce visually pleasing dot profiles when thresholded at any level of said gray scale images.
Statutory – RCT v. Microsoft – (Dec. 8, 2010) “the invention presents functional and palpable applications in the field of computer technology” and “[I]nventions with specific applications or improvements to technologies in the marketplace are not likely to be so abstract that they override the statutory language and framework of the Patent Act.”