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Communique Laboratory, Inc. v. Citrix Systems, Inc.

Representative Claim

  1. A computer program product for use on a server computer linked to the Internet and having a static IP address, for providing access to a personal computer from a remote computer, the personal computer being linked to the Internet, its location on the Internet being defined by either (i) a dynamic public IP address (publicly addressable), or (ii) a dynamic LAN IP address (publicly un-addressable), the computer program product comprising:

(a) a computer usable medium;

(b) computer readable program code recorded or storable in the computer useable medium, the computer readable program code defining a server computer program on the server computer wherein:

(i) the server computer program is operable to enable a connection between the remote computer and the server computer; and

(ii) the server computer program includes a location facility and is responsive to a request from the remote computer to communicate with the personal computer to act as an intermediary between the personal computer and the remote computer by creating one or more communication sessions there between, said one or more communication sessions being created by the location facility, in response to receipt of the request for communication with the personal computer from the remote computer, by determining a then current location of the personal computer and creating a communication channel between the remote computer and the personal computer, the location facility being operable to create such communication channel whether the personal computer is linked to the Internet directly (with a publicly addressable) dynamic IP address or indirectly via an Internet gateway/proxy (with % publicly un-addressable dynamic LAN IP address).


Motions for Summary Judgment.

Abstract Idea: No

The Court found that representative claim 24 of the ‘479 patent is not directed to the abstract idea.  Citrix argued (1) that representative claim 24 describes nothing more than “an abstract idea of an intermediary that, in response to a request for communication, finds a current location of the requested endpoint and creates a connection between the two devices,” and (2) that “the invention could be, and was, performed by humans when telephone operators connected one caller to a second caller at the first caller’s request.”  However, in the Court’s opinion, claim 24 is “not merely directed to a broad concept of remote access or automatic call routing . . . [but] describes a ‘particular approach’ to solving problems with prior art remote access patents that could only exist in a post-Internet world[.]”

Something More: Yes

Although the Mayo test is fulfilled at the first step if the claims are not directed to an abstract idea, the court went on to discuss that representative claim 24 contains an inventive concept that satisfies step two of the test.  Here, Citrix argued that claim 24 does not satisfy the step two of the Mayo test, because the claim “requires generic software operating on a generic computer system to implement the abstract idea of connecting two computers, and lacks ‘additional features’ necessary to find an inventive concept[.]”  Again, however, the Court disagreed, stating:

“Claim 24 does not simply say: use the Internet to implement remote access between two computers. The preamble describes the use and purpose of the claimed computer product. The body of claim 24 specifies how the claimed computer program product accomplishes the solution of the ‘479 invention of creating a private communication portal between a remote computer and personal computer[.]”

“Examined as a whole, the specific features, steps, and limitations of claim 24 provide a specific solution to remote access problems that is necessarily rooted in computer technology, and thus constitute an inventive concept—something more than an abstract idea merely implemented on a generic computer. DDR Holdings, 773 F.3d at 1257; see also Versata Dev. Grp. Inc. v. SAP Am. Inc., 793 F.3d 1306, 1334 (Fed. Cir. 2015) (distinguishing claims involving business methods implemented on a general purpose computer from claims in DDR Holdings “rooted in computer technology to solve a problem specifically arising in some aspect of computer technology”); SimpleAir, Inc. v. Google Inc., 2015 WL 5675281, at *5 (systems and methods for transmitting data to remote computing devices patent eligible because claim limitations sufficient to ensure claim amounts to more than patent on an abstract idea).

Moreover, the specific features, steps, and limitations of claim 24 with respect to the ‘479 patent’s particular solution to computer remote access problems do not foreclose or preempt other solutions to problems concerning remote access technology. DDR Holdings, 773 F.3d at 1259; see also Contentguard, 2015 WL 5853984, at *6 (particular solution to problems concerning enforcement of usage rights does not foreclose other solutions).”