1. A method for transmitting message packets over a communications network comprising the steps of:
converting a plurality of streams of audio and/or visual information into a plurality of streams of addressed digital packets complying with the specifications of a network communication protocol,
for each stream, routing such stream to one or more users,
controlling the routing of the stream of packets in response to selection signals received from the users, and
monitoring the reception of packets by the users and accumulating records that indicate which streams of packets were received by which users, wherein at least one stream of packets comprises an audio and/or visual selection and the records that are accumulated indicate the time that a user starts receiving the audio and/or visual selection and the time that the user stops receiving the audio and/or visual selection.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. The district court found the patents at issue to be directed to patent ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.
Abstract Idea: Yes
Claim 1 recites a method for routing information using result-based functional language. The claim requires the functional results of “converting,” “routing,” “controlling,” “monitoring,” and “accumulating records,” but does not sufficiently describe how to achieve these results in a non-abstract way. Affinity Labs of Tex., LLC v. DIRECTV, LLC, 838 F.3d 1253, 1258–59 (Fed. Cir. 2016) . . . Claim 1 is similar to other claims found to be directed to an abstract idea. [citing Electric Power Group, LLC v. Alstom S.A., 830 F.3d 1350, 1351 (Fed. Cir. 2016)] . . In the same way, claim 1 manipulates data but fails to do so in a non-abstract way.
Because the claim is directed to an abstract idea, we proceed to Alice step two to determine whether the representative claims disclose a saving inventive concept.
Something More: No
We likewise see no inventive concept in the ordered combination of these limitations. BASCOM Glob. Internet Servs., Inc. v. AT & T Mobility LLC, 827 F.3d 1341, 1350 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (“[A]n inventive concept can be found in the non-conventional and non-generic arrangement of known, conventional pieces.”). The claim uses a conventional ordering of steps—first processing the data, then routing it, controlling it, and monitoring its reception—with conventional technology to achieve its desired result. As the court in BASCOM noted, merely reciting an abstract idea performed on a set of generic computer components, as claim 1 does here, would “not contain an inventive concept.” Id. (citing CyberSource Corp. v. Retail Decisions, Inc., 654 F.3d 1366, 1370 (Fed. Cir. 2011)). We thus find that claim 1 here fails to transform the abstract idea into something more. Elec. Power Grp., 830 F.3d at 1355–56.