In Cellspin Soft, Inc. v. Fitbit, Inc., No. 2018-1817 et al. (Fed. Cir. June. 25, 2019), the Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the district court’s dismissal finding four patents ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101, instead holding that the patent owner’s plausible, specific factual allegations of inventiveness precluded Rule 12 dismissal.
Cellspin asserted four patents, generally related to connecting a data capture device to a mobile device to allow a user can automatically publish content to a website, against several defendants. The defendants moved to dismiss under Rule 12, arguing that all four patents were patent ineligible under § 101. The district court granted the motions, finding that the asserted claims were directed to the abstract idea of “acquiring, transferring, and publishing data” and did not recite an “inventive concept.” The district court also awarded attorney fees under § 285, finding that Cellspin’s claims were “exceptionally meritless” because they were “manifestly directed to an abstract idea.”
On appeal, the Federal Circuit agreed that the asserted claims were directed to an abstract idea, but found that the district court erred in finding no inventive concept. The court explained that Cellspin’s amended complaints alleged “specific, plausible factual allegations about why aspects of its claimed inventions were not conventional” that, when taken as true, precluded dismissing the case under Rule 12. The court then held that the erroneous dismissal necessitates vacating the related attorney fees award. The court vacated the district court’s decision and remanded for further proceedings.