Fresh From the Bench: Latest Federal Circuit Court Case
CASE OF THE WEEK
Weisner v. Google LLC, Appeal No. 2021-2228 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 13, 2022)
In its only precedential patent case this last week, the Federal Circuit again revisited the thresholds for disposing of cases under Section 101, brought on a motion to dismiss. In a split decision, the Court affirmed the dismissal of two patents, but reversed the district court concerning two other patents, all of which shared the same specification. For those two patents, the Court held that dismissal on Section 101 grounds was improper because it was plausible the patents disclosed an “inventive concept.”
The four patents shared a common specification, which concerned ways to digitally record a person’s physical activities and ways to use this digital record. The specification contemplates accumulating data about a person’s movements (in and out of different stores, for example) over time. The information is then used to “enhance web searching results.”
Although the patents shared a common specification, they covered different elements of the invention in their claims. Claim 1 of the ’202 patent recited recording “physical location histories” of “individual members” that visit “stationary vendor member[s]” in a “member network.” The claim, which is very long, also includes generic hardware and software components and features such as a “telecommunications network,” “database,” “application,” “handheld mobile communication device,” and whatnot. Claim 1 of the ’910 patent is similar.