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Evolutionary Intelligence v. Sprint Nextel

Representative Claim

No specific claims referenced or recited in the opinion.

Posture:

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in Nos. 5:13-cv-03587-RMW, 5:13-cv-04201-RMW, 5:13-cv-04202-RMW, 5:13-cv-04203-RMW, 5:13-cv-04204-RMW, 5:13-cv-04205-RMW, 5:13-cv-04206-RMW, 5:13-cv-04207-RMW, 5:13-cv-04513-RMW, Senior Judge Ronald M. Whyte.

Abstract Idea: Yes

The Federal Circuit stated the claims were “directed to selecting and sorting information by user interest or subject matter, a longstanding activity of libraries and other human enterprises.” As noted in the opinion, the court had previously held that “tailoring of content based on information about the user—such as where the user lives or what time of day the user views the content—is an abstract idea.”  The Federal Circuit distinguished Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp., where “the plain focus of the claims” was on “an improvement to the computer functionality itself,” 822 F.3d 1327, 1336 (Fed. Cir. 2016), i.e., “a specific improvement—a particular database technique—in how computers could carry out one of their basic functions of storage and retrieval of data,” regardless of subject matter or the use to which that functionality might be put.

Something More: No

The appellant/patent owner did not dispute that merely using a computer was not enough to establish an “inventive concept” under the Alice/Mayo framework; nor did the appellant/patent owner dispute that “containers,” “registers,” and “gateways” are “conventional and routine” structures.  As such, the Federal Circuit held that whether “analyzed individually or as an ordered combination, the claims recite those conventional elements at too high a level of generality to constitute an inventive concept.”