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American Express Co., et al. v. Harvey Lunenfeld

Representative Claim

  1. A process for metasearching on the Internet, wherein the steps of the process are performed by a metasearch engine executing on a hardware device, the process comprising the steps of:

(a) receiving a Hypertext Transfer Protocol request from a client device for the metasearch engine to send a plurality of search queries to at least one host that comprises a plurality of server devices that provide access to information to be searched, wherein the Hypertext Transfer Protocol request from the client device is associated with a plurality of travel related items that may be ordered comprising at least one airline ticket and at least one other type of travel related item;

(b) sending the plurality of search queries to the at least one host in response to the Hypertext Transfer Protocol request received from the client device;

(c) receiving search results from the at least one host in response to the plurality of search queries sent to the at least one host;

(d) incorporating the received search results into a response;

(e) communicating the response from the metasearch engine to the client device;

(f) receiving another Hypertext Transfer Protocol request from the client device for placing an order for at least one of the plurality of travel related items;

(g) processing the order.

Posture:

Final Decision for CBM review.

Abstract Idea: Yes

Based on the claim language as a whole, claims 1 and 21 are each directed to the abstract idea of searching for travel information from multiple sources and ordering travel items from the combined search results–essentially, the abstract idea of buying a trip chosen from multiple options provided through a knowledgeable travel broker.

Something More: No

We find that the challenged claims recite Internet conventions that were common in the art at the time of the invention. For example, the claims recite receiving requests from a client device using a Hypertext Transfer Protocol. Mamma.com demonstrates that browsers on Internet client devices used such a protocol at the time of invention. See Ex. 1012, 10 (for “Microsoft Internet Explorer,” go to the address “http://www.mamma.com”).

Based on the evidence of record, we determine the challenged claims are drawn to implementing the abstract ideas of searching for travel information from multiple sources and ordering travel items from the search results (claims 1 and 21) and searching for travel information from multiple sources, providing an advertisement associated with the travel search results, and ordering travel items from the search results (claims 5, 15, 31, and 35). In other words, the claims are directed to using conventional web-based methods to implement the abstract idea of searching for and buying a trip from multiple travel options provided by a knowledgeable broker who also provides sales and marketing materials regarding those travel options. Such an implementation using conventional devices and technology does not transform the abstract idea into patent-eligible subject matter.