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Two-Way Media Ltd. v. Comcast Cable Communications, LLC

Claims Reciting Results of Simple Functions Properly Treated as Abstract

Two-Way Media Ltd. v. Comcast Cable Communications, LLC, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 21706 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 1, 2017) (Lourie, REYNA, Hughes) (D. Del.: Andrews) (3 of 5 stars)

Fed Cir affirms determination of § 101 subject-matter ineligibility. Four Two-Way patents were at issue, all relating to systems for streaming over the Internet using multicasting. The opinion discusses them in two sets. As to the first set, at Alice step one Two-Way’s patents were directed to the abstract idea of controlling/monitoring the sending of information. The district court did not oversimplify the claims, and the opinion cites Affinity Labs, 838 F.3d 1253 (Fed. Cir. 2016), and Electric Power Group, 830 F.3d 1350 (Fed. Cir. 2016), as supporting the district court’s description of the claims as directed to the outcomes of basic functions, and not particular techniques for performing those functions. Two-Way’s proposed claim constructions, even had they been adopted, did not make this idea non-abstract. At Alice step two, there was no inventive concept in the application of the idea, as the claims used only generic functional language to describe implementation, and the order of the combination did not show an inventive concept.

As to the second set, at Alice step one, Two-Way’s claims were directed to the abstract idea of monitoring/measuring delivery of real-time information. There was no error in the district court citing the claims’ preamble in analyzing abstractness. At Alice step two, there was again no inventive concept, as the claims only used conventional computer and network components, operating according to ordinary functions.

KEYWORDS: SUBJECT MATTER ELIGIBILITY (NO); ABSTRACT IDEA (YES)