Judge Andrews recently granted a motion filed by several defendants under Rule 12(c) seeking to invalidate the patents-in-suit as ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The Court found that two of the patents-in-suit “are directed to the abstract idea of (1) sending information, (2) directing the sent information, (3) monitoring receipt of the sent information, and (4) accumulating records about receipt of the sent information.” Two-Way Media Ltd. v. Comcast Cable Communications, LLC, et al., C.A. No. 14-1006-RGA, Memo. Op. at 8-10 (D. Del. Aug. 15, 2016). Judge Andrews further explained that there was no “inventive concept” sufficient to rescue this abstract idea because, although the specifications pointed to a specific system architecture as the innovation in question, “[n]one of the claims . . . recite or refer to anything that could be described as an architecture.” Id. at 10-11. Two other patents-in-suit were similarly deficient. Id. at 12-15.
Judge Andrews’ decision involved two interesting procedural points that movants may wish to note. First, the patentee argued that the “motion is premature because claim construction is necessary to determine patent eligibility under § 101” but Judge Andrews issued an order requiring the patentee to identify “the claim terms it contends need construction and . . . its proposed constructions.” The Defendants argued that those constructions did not alter the § 101 analysis and Judge Andrews adopted the constructions for purposes of the motion. Id. at 5-6.
Second, the patentee argued that the Court should consider materials from prior proceedings before the PTO and in other litigations, which arguably “demonstrate how [its] invention[s] solved specific technical problems and added significant inventive concepts over the prior art.” But Judge Andrews found the materials in question “irrelevant to the § 101 motion for judgment on the pleadings [because] [n]one of the materials addresses a § 101 challenge to claims of the asserted patents” but rather the “novelty and nonobviousness of the claims under§§ 102 and 103, [which] does not bear on whether the claims are directed to patent-eligible subject matter under § 101, [as well as the] history of conception of the invention and commercial embodiments of the invention. Id. at 7.