The Software IP Report

Claims to Online Purchasing Method Not Patent-Eligible

By Charles Bieneman

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

A court has granted summary judgment of invalidity for failure to claim patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101 for claims to “[a] method of purchasing goods or services over a data network.”  Source Search Technologies, LLC v. Kayak Software Corp., No. 11-3388 (D. N.J. July 1, 2015).

The patent owner conceded that the claims of U.S. Patent No. 5,758,328 were directed to “to an abstract concept, specifically ‘obtaining quotes from selected vendors.’” The claims were saved, the patent owner contended, by the allegedly additional inventive concept of “acquiring the required and available quote information from the vendor’s product database using predistributed software.”

The court first rejected the patent owner’s argument that the claims were patent-eligible because they did “not pre-empt other computerized methods for obtaining quotes from selected vendors.”  Claims are not necessarily patent-eligible simply because they do not preempt an entire field of use.  Likewise, claims are not patent-eligible simply because they are novel.

The patent owner also made the predictable argument that its claims were directed to an Internet problem and thus were akin to the claims held patent-eligible in the DDR Holdings case.   But the claims here were not “directed entirely to solving a database management and computer interface problems [sic] specific to the realm of computer networks,” but rather pertained to “a well-worn business practice.” The patent provided no “detail how the predistributed software,” the alleged additional, patent-eligible innovation, “actually acquires quote information from vendor databases.”  Therefore, the court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment of Section 101 invalidity.