A Delaware district court has issued mixed rulings on motions for summary judgment of invalidity under section 101. Plaintiff Intellectual Ventures sued Motorola in 2011, alleging infringement of six patents. The case proceeded to trial last year, but resulted in a mistrial owing to a hung jury. Earlier this year, the court allowed the parties to brief issues relating to patent ineligibility in light of recent case law. Motorola moved for judgment of invalidity under section 101 of two of IV’s asserted patents. The court granted Motorola summary judgment on a patent relating to a method for distributing software updates to user computers. The court found that the claims were directed to an abstract idea and would preempt the field of computerized software updates, thereby monopolizing the idea.
The court however denied Motorola’s motion with respect to IV’s patent directed at content-based allocation of network bandwidth and system resources. The court agreed that such resource allocation was an abstract idea but found that the claims tied the method to a wireless network over which the base station connected to customer computers. IV’s expert had opined that the invention “schedules the flow of information on the network according to the claimed method as opposed to how it would otherwise proceed.” This, the court held, is “necessarily rooted in computer technology and solves a problem specifically arising in the realm of computer networks.” The court reasoned the claims were directed to the “inventive concept” of using packet headers to allocate bandwidth, even though they did not recite implementation details such as how the packet headers would be used to accomplish the allocation. The court pointed to the dependent claims as providing additional specificity on packet-centric protocols and packet types to be used with the invention. The court concluded that because the claims specified “how interactions with the network are manipulated to yield a desired result,” they were directed to patent-eligible subject matter under Alice, and the more recent federal circuit decision in DDR Holdings .
Intellectual Ventures I LLC et al v. Motorola Mobility LLC, No. 1-11-cv-00908 (DED Feb. 24, 2015) (Robinson, J.).