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Judge Burke recommends dismissal of claims as invalid under Section 101

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In a recent Report and Recommendation, Magistrate Judge Christopher J. Burke considered defendants’ motions under FRCP 12(b)(6) and 12(c), which argued that all claims of plaintiff’s U.S. Patent No. 8,271,974 (the “’974 patent”) are directed to non-patent eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Kaavo Inc. v. Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp., C.A. Nos 14-1192, 14-1193-LPS-CJB (D. Del. Feb. 5, 2016). The ’974 patent is entitled “Cloud Computing Lifecycle Management for N-tier Applications,” and according to its Abstract, relates to “[m]ethods, devices, and systems for management of a cloud computing environment for use by a software application.” Id. at 2.

Judge Burke first examined independent claim 1 of the ’974 patent, and recommend that defendants’ motions be granted with respect to that claim. Under the first step of Alice, Judge Burke concluded that claim 1 was directed to the abstract idea of “setting up and managing a cloud computing environment,” which Judge Burke found has “no particular concrete or tangible form” and is “devoid of a concrete or tangible application.” Id. at 13. Judge Burke also concluded that claim 1 lacked an inventive concept under the second step of Alice, finding that “claim 1 lacks the requisite element or combination of elements that would be sufficient to ensure that the claim amounts to something more than the abstract idea of ‘setting up and managing a cloud computing environment[.]’” Id. at 18. Judge Burke explained that claim 1, “on its face, does not appear to specify any meaningful, particularized technological or procedural limitations on that idea.” Id. Stated differently, “the words of claim 1 appear to contain almost ‘no restriction on how’ the claim’s six ‘determining,’ ‘sending’ or ‘receiving’ steps are to be accomplished; the claim simply appears to ‘describe[] the [sought-after] effect or result’ of the steps.” Id.

Judge Burke found that claim 1 adequately represented the remaining independent claims at issue, and concluded that those remaining independent claims were similarly directed to patent-ineligible subject matter. Id. at 32. Accordingly, Judge Burke recommended that defendants’ motions regarding the remaining independent claims be granted.

With one exception, Judge Burke recommended that defendants’ motions regarding the dependent claims at issue be denied without prejudice. Judge Burke reasoned that “[t]he Court is not prepared to take the significant step of finding such claims ineligible when they are addressed in such a cursory manner by the movant in the first instance.” Id.

UPDATE: On March 31, 2016, Chief Judge Leonard P. Stark adopted Judge Burke’s Report and Recommendation in full.

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