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buySAFE v. Google

Representative Claim

1. A method, comprising:

receiving, by at least one computer application program running on a computer of a safe transaction service provider, a request from a first party for obtaining a transaction performance guaranty service with respect to an online commercial transaction following closing of the online commercial transaction;

processing, by at least one computer application program running on the safe transaction service provider computer, the request by underwriting the first party in order to provide the transaction performance guaranty service to the first party,

wherein the computer of the safe transaction service provider offers, via a computer network, the transaction performance guaranty service that binds a transaction performance guaranty to the online commercial transaction involving the first party to guarantee the performance of the first party following closing of the online commercial transaction.

Posture:

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Delaware in Case No. 11-CV-1282

Abstract Idea: Yes

The Federal Circuit agreed with the district court’s Step One determination, stating:

“The claims in this case do not push or even test the boundaries of the Supreme Court precedents under section 101. The claims are squarely about creating a contractual relationship—a ‘transaction performance guaranty’—that is beyond question of ancient lineage. See Willis D. Morgan, The History and Economics of Suretyship, 12 Cornell L.Q. 153 (1927). The dependent claims’ narrowing to particular types of such relationships, themselves familiar, does not change the analysis. This kind of narrowing of such long-familiar commercial transactions does not make the idea non-abstract for section 101 purposes. See Mayo, 132 S.Ct. at 1301. The claims thus are directed to an abstract idea.”

Something More: No

The Federal Circuit also agreed with the district court’s Step Two determination, stating:

“The claims’ invocation of computers adds no inventive concept. The computer functionality is generic—indeed, quite limited: a computer receives a request for a guarantee and transmits an offer of guarantee in return. There is no further detail. That a computer receives and sends the information over a network—with no further specification—is not even arguably inventive. The computers in Alice were receiving and sending information over networks connecting the intermediary to the other institutions involved, and the Court found the claimed role of the computers insufficient. See also CyberSource Corp. v. Retail Decisions, Inc., 654 F.3d 1366, 1370 (Fed.Cir.2011) (use of Internet to verify credit-card transaction does not add enough to abstract idea of verifying the transaction). And it likewise cannot be enough that the transactions being guaranteed are themselves online transactions. At best, that narrowing is an ‘attempt[] to limit the use’ of the abstract guarantee idea ‘to a particular technological environment,’ which has long been held insufficient to save a claim in this context. See Alice, 134 S.Ct. at 2358; Mayo, 132 S.Ct. at 1294; Bilski, 561 U.S. at 610-11, 130 S.Ct. 3218; Diehr, 450 U.S. at 191, 101 S.Ct. 1048.”