02.18.18

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In Aatrix v Green Shades the Court is Not Tolerating Software Patents But Merely Inquires/Wonders Whether the Patents at Hand Are Abstract

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 10:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Some bits of sensationalism, motivated by patent maximalism, leave Aatrix v Green Shades somewhat misrepresented (just like Berkheimer v HP Inc.)

Green Shades
Green Shades has not necessarily lost (decision vacated)

Summary: Aatrix alleges patent infringement by Green Shades, but whether the patents at hand are abstract or not remains to be seen; this is not what patent maximalists claim it to be (“A Valentine for Software Patent Owners” or “valentine for patentee”)

SEVERAL DAYS AGO, on Valentine’s Day to be precise, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) ruled in a case [PDF] that law firms rushed to cover (Knobbe Martens). Adam Powell and Diana E. Wade from Knobbe Martens wrote the following with some background:

Aatrix sued Green Shades for infringement of two patents directed to systems and methods for designing, creating, and importing data into a viewable form on a computer. Green Shades moved to dismiss under § 101. The district court granted the motion and denied leave to file a proposed amended complaint. Aatrix appealed to the Federal Circuit.

The main question is, are these really software patents? Not every time Alice gets invoked will it work; it’s not a magic wand.

‘Early birds’ wrote about it in relation to 101/Alice, calling it “PRECEDENTIAL” and dubbing it “A Valentine for Software Patent Owners”.

Another one said: “Aatrix SW FedCir 2/14/18 valentine for patentee: Circuit vacates DCt’s R12b6 dismissal for no 101 eligible s/m; tangible computer system for creating forms; can dismiss on pleadings only if no factual allegn’s prevent resolving eligibility as legal q. No DCt claim constrn either. [] Reyna, J. dissent: disagrees with the majority’s broad statements on the role of factual evidence in § 101 inquiry. “Our precedent is clear that the § 101 inquiry is a legal question.” Majority tries to shoehorn significant fact component into Alice analysis. [Battle is joined!] [] I’m cautiously liking the Moore, J. approach on this. 101 eligibility must logically sometimes raise fact q’s, just like claim construction. If we’re stuck with a ridiculous test like Alice’s step 2 “transformative inventive concept,” at least we should look at underlying facts.”

“Question for en banc review of Aatrix,” added the former person. “Is a consideration whether various claim elements simply recite ‘well-understood, routine, conventionalactivit[ies] a question of Law or Fact?”

In recent days we saw some press coverage about it:

The Federal Circuit faulted a lower court Wednesday for invalidating data manipulation patents as abstract ideas on a motion to dismiss, the second time in days the court has held that a judge too quickly found that patents failed the U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice test.

This is alluding to Berkheimer v HP Inc., which we covered thrice already [1, 2, 3]. One has to be careful not to take the patent microcosm at face value. They’re desperate for CAFC cases in favour of software patents; since they can barely find any they try to make some up.

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