In DDR HOLDINGS, LLC v. HOTELS.COM, L.P., Appeal No. 2013-1505, the Federal Circuit held Internet-activity claims recited patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.
DDR asserted two patents claiming systems and methods for generating a composite web page that combines visual elements of a host website with content of a third-party merchant. The jury found the patents infringed and not invalid. The defendant renewed motions for JMOL of invalidity under 35 U.S.C. §§ 101, 102, 103, and 112; the district denied the motions and the defendant appealed.
The Federal Circuit affirmed the denial of JMOL under § 101. Applying the Supreme Court’s framework ofAlice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014), the Federal Circuit noted the claims did not broadly and generically “recite the performance of some business practice known from the pre-Internet world” merely implemented using computers. “Instead, the claimed solution is necessarily rooted in computer technology in order to overcome a problem specifically arising in the realm of computer networks.” The Federal Circuit noted the claims “do not attempt to preempt every application of the idea of increasing sales by making two web pages look the same” and instead “recite a specific way to automate the creation of a composite web page,” thereby providing “additional features” under step two of the Alice analysis.
The Federal Circuit reversed the denial JMOL under § 103 for one of the patents and affirmed the denial of all other bases for JMOL. In affirming the denial of JMOL of invalidity for indefiniteness under § 112, the Federal Circuit noted the defendant admitted at trial it understood the meaning of the disputed term.
In dissent, Judge Mayer opined the claims are invalid under § 101. The patents claimed the goal of “confusing consumers by making two pages look alike” but in Judge Mayer’s view did not disclose any new technology or “inventive concept” for achieving that goal.