The Software IP Report

Berkheimer Effect?  Alice Query Deferred For Fact Questions

By Charles Bieneman

Categories: Patent Eligibility, Software Patents, The Software IP Report

A complaint for patent infringement has survived a Rule 12 motion to dismiss by making specific factual allegations to support arguments that the claims met the patent-eligibility requirements of Alice and 35 U.S.C. § 101. Sound View Innovations, LLC v. Hulu, LLC, No. LA CV17-04146 JAK (PLAx) (C.D. Cal. April 11, 2018). The patents at issue related to systems for operating and managing databases. (US Patent Nos. 5,806,062; 6,125,371; and 9,462,074.) This case is another sign that the Federal Circuit’s early-2018 decisions in Berkheimer v. HP, Inc. and Aatrix Software, Inc. v. Green Shades Software, Inc., may pose a new obstacle for parties seeing to invalidate patent claims under Section 101 – especially defendants filing motions at the pleadings stage in patent infringement lawsuits.

Citing both Berkheimer and Aatrix, the court noted the plaintiff’s pleadings and arguments that:

  • “[t]he ’371 patent solved this computer-based problem—that of lacking an efficient means to reclaim main memory space no longer used by multi-version techniques—by logically and economically aging data record versions in the database;”
  • “[t]he inventors of the ’062 patent solved these discrete computer-based problems by providing an apparatus and method for creating data analysis applications using reusable software operators; and”
  • Unlike a general claim to data storage, the claims of the ’074 Patent relate to a specific computer architecture” and “the arrangement of these servers helps to address the problem of network congestion and long delays . . . similar to the claims at issue in Visual Memory v. NVIDIA Corp.

Further, the court was able to point to portions of the patent specifications, as well as the plaintiff’s complaint, to support the possibility that the claims provided a technical solution to a technical problem.