- A method of pricing a product for sale, the method comprising:
testing each price of a plurality of prices by sending a first set of electronic messages over a network to devices;
wherein said electronic messages include offers of said product;
wherein said offers are to be presented to potential customers of said product to allow said potential customers to purchase said product for the prices included in said offers;
wherein the devices are programmed to communicate offer terms, including the prices contained in the messages received by the devices;
wherein the devices are programmed to receive offers for the product based on the offer terms; wherein the devices are not configured to fulfill orders by providing the product;
wherein each price of said plurality of prices is used in the offer associated with at least one electronic message in said first set of electronic messages;
gathering, within a machine-readable medium, statistics generated during said testing about how the potential customers responded to the offers, wherein the statistics include number of sales of the product made at each of the plurality of prices;
using a computerized system to read said statistics from said machine-readable medium and to automatically determine, based on said statistics, an estimated outcome of using each of the plurality of prices for the product;
selecting a price at which to sell said product based on the estimated outcome determined by said computerized system; and
sending a second set of electronic messages over the network, wherein the second set of electronic messages include offers, to be presented to potential customers, of said product at said selected price.
Appeal from U.S. District Court for the ND Cal.
Abstract Idea: Yes
“Here, the claims are directed to the concept of offer-based price optimization. Claim 1 broadly recites a “method of pricing a product for sale,” and the specification describes the invention as an “automatic pricing method and apparatus for use in electronic commerce. ’713 patent col. 2 ll. 49–50; id. at col. 1 ll. 27–31. This concept of “offer based pricing” is similar to other “fundamental economic concepts” found to be abstract ideas by the Supreme Court and this court. . . . And that the claims do not preempt all price optimization or may be limited to price optimization in the e-commerce setting do not make them any less abstract. See buySAFE, Inc. v. Google, Inc., 765 F.3d 1350, 1355 (Fed. Cir. 2014) (collecting cases); Accenture, 728 F.3d at 1345.”
Something More: No
“Considered individually or taken together as an ordered combination, the claim elements fail “to ‘transform’ the claimed abstract idea into a patent-eligible application. . . . Moreover, the claims are exceptionally broad and the computer implementation limitations do little to limit their scope. Indeed, the specification makes clear that this “programming” and the related computer hardware “refers to any sequence of instructions designed for execution on a computer system.” ’713 patent col. 6 ll. 31–33.”