Judge Sue L. Robinson recently granted a defendant’s motion for summary judgment that a patented financial transaction security apparatus was invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Joao Bock Transaction Sys., LLC v. Jack Henry & Assocs., Inc., Civ. No. 12-1138-SLR (D. Del. Dec. 15, 2014). The Court described the invention as adding “transaction security by allowing interaction between the central processing computer and a communication device to enable the point-of-sale terminal operator of the card holder to allow or deny a transaction using the communication device over a communications network.” Id. at 2-3. The Court agreed with the defendant’s argument that the claims at issue were directed to the abstract idea of, essentially, enabling a bank customer to give a stop payment instruction to a bank on a given check presented for payment, and having the bank honor that instruction by locating the check at issue and not paying it. See id. at 12-14.
The Court then considered whether the claimed abstract idea was limited by an inventive concept such that “the patent in practice amounts to significantly more than a patent upon the [ineligible concept] itself.” Id. at 14 (quoting Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 134 S. Ct. 2347, 2355 (2014)). The Court rejected the plaintiff’s argument that “the claims use ‘specific computers’ with bank processing software, making them ‘special purpose computers[,]’” and found, based on the specification, that “[t]he computer components are being employed for basic functions, including storage, transmitting and receiving information . . . .” Id. at 14-15. The Court added that “[w]hile the computer components do allow the abstract idea to be performed more quickly, this does not impose a meaningful limit on the scope of the claim.” Id. at 15.