The Software IP Report

CAFC: Handling Search Queries Is Not Patent-Eligible

By Charles Bieneman

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

A Federal Circuit Panel needed little analysis to determine that retrieving and displaying information is not patent-eligible subject matter, and affirmed a district court’s dismissal of a suit alleging infringement of claims of three patents.  West View Research, LLC v. Audi AG, Nos. 2016-1947, 2016-1948, 2016-1949, 2016-1951 (Fed. Cir. April 19, 2017) (non-precedential).  The patents, which shared a written description, were U.S. Patent Nos. 8,065,156; 8,290,778, 8,296,146, 8,719,038, and 8,781,839.

Looking at claims identified as representative of the eighty-one asserted claims (claim 63 of the ’038 patent and claim 29 of the ’156 patent), the court thought that the claims “recite an abstract idea” because they “do not go beyond receiving or collecting data queries, analyzing the data query, retrieving and processing the information constituting a response to the initial data query, and generating a visual or audio response to the initial data query.”

Was there an inventive concept beyond the abstract idea?  No, because even though the specification described many arrangements of hardware, they were all included generic components.  Applying the final kiss of death, the court explained that “[w]hether analyzed individually or as an ordered combination, the claims recite conventional elements at a high level of generality and do not constitute an inventive concept.”