In DIGITECH IMAGE TECHNOLOGIES v. ELECTRONICS FOR IMAGING, INC., Appeal No. 13-1600, the Federal Circuit affirmed summary judgment of invalidity under 35 U.S.C. § 101 for lack of patent-eligible subject matter.
Digitech’s patent pertained to “device profiles” and “methods of improving device profiles.” During digital photography, a capturing device can distort the color and spatial properties of a scene. Device profiles describe the color properties of both the source and output devices in order to counter the distortion. Digitech sued the defendants for infringing the “device profile” claims and methods for generating a “device profile.” The district court granted summary judgment of invalidity after finding that the subject matter of the asserted claims was ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101.
The Federal Circuit affirmed. The Federal Circuit found the “device profile” claims invalid because they pertained to subject matter that did not have a physical or tangible form. Instead, the “device profile” claims merely comprised “data” describing a device-dependent transformation. The Federal Circuit stated: “Data in its ethereal, non-physical form is simply information that does not fall under any [category of patent] eligible subject matter . . . .” Citing the Supreme Court decision Alice Corp v. CLS Bank International, 573 U.S. ___, No. 13-298 (June 19, 2014), the Federal Circuit determined that the patented method claimed an abstract idea “because it describes a process of organizing information through mathematical correlations and is not tied to a specific structure or machine.” The Federal Circuit held that, “[w]ithout additional limitations, a process that employs mathematical algorithms to manipulate existing information to generate additional information is not patent eligible.”