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Thales Visionix, Inc. v. The United States

Representative Claim

  1. A system for tracking the motion of an object relative to a moving reference frame, comprising:

a first inertial sensor mounted on the tracked object;

a second inertial sensor mounted on the moving reference frame; and

an element adapted to receive signals from said first and second inertial sensors and configured to determine an orientation of the object relative to the moving reference frame based on the signals received from the first and second inertial sensors.

Posture:

Rule 12(c) Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.

Abstract Idea: Yes

“[T]he Court similarly finds that TVI fails the first prong of the Alice analysis because the independent claims of the ‘159 Patent are directed to mathematical equations for determining the relative position of a moving object to a moving reference frame. Derived from Newtonian principles of motion and “borrowing the mathematics that an inertial navigation system uses to track an airplane relative to a rotating earth,” the navigation equation is undoubtedly a complex mathematical concept, and a solution to the problem of tracking two moving objects in relation to each other. ‘159 Patent at 5:63-65. However, the Court finds that this concept is a “building block of human ingenuity,” and the solution lies in the mathematical formulae, not the generic devices listed in the system claim.”

Something More: No

“[T]he system claim fails to transform the method claim into a patent-eligible invention. The plain language of Claim 1 describes generic, fungible inertial sensors that admittedly have already gained “widespread acceptance” in the field of motion tracking. Like the computer elements in Alice, these inertial trackers, when considered as an ordered combination in the claimed system, add nothing transformative to the patent. Although the concept of tracking the motion of a moving object relative to a moving reference frame may have been novel and nonobvious, the claimed system does nothing to ground this abstract idea in a specific way. The claims allow for the application of the navigation equation in almost endless environments, and are not limited to a fighter jet and a pilot’s helmet.”