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Judge Andrews denies motion for summary judgment under 35 U.S.C. § 101

Judge Richard G. Andrews recently denied a motion for summary judgment seeking to invalidate a plaintiff’s patent for lack of patent-eligible subject matter.  ART+COM  Innovationpool Gmbh v. Google Inc., C.A. No. 14-217-RGA (D. Del. Apr. 28, 2016).  At issue was the plaintiff’s ‘550 patent, which describes “a software-implemented method for providing a pictorial representation of space-related data, particularly geographical data of flat or physical objects.”  Id. at 2 (internal quotation marks omitted).  Google argued that the patent “is directed to the abstract ideal of storing image data, then repeatedly requesting specific data, which is then stored and displayed[,]” which “can be analogized to the age-old practice of a visitor in a library reviewing atlases that include maps with differing resolutions or scales.”  Id. at 6-7 (internal quotation marks omitted).  While the Court did not view the library analogy as a perfect one, id. at 8 n.1, it agreed with Google that the patent was directed to an abstract idea.  Moving to the second step of the analysis, whether the claims express an inventive concept , Judge Andrews explained that “[t]he Supreme Court has described the second step … as calling for the query: ‘What else is there in the claims before us?’.”  Here, Judge Andrews found that, in combination, the patent claims were directed to an “iterative process [that] allows a user to access more electronic pictorial data in a more rapid fashion.  The distributed data sources permit a user to access masses of data, while the recursive division step permits a user to access that data quickly, with increasing resolution over time.  This amounts to ‘more than a drafting effort designed to monopolize the [abstract idea itself].'”  Id. at 12 (quoting Alice Corp. Pty. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 134 S. Ct. 2347, 2357 (2014)) (alteration in original).

ART+COM v. Google, C.A. NO. 14-217-RGA

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