In BSG Tech LLC v. BuySeasons, Inc., No. 2017-1980 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 15, 2018), the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision finding all claims of BSG’s three asserted patents ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The patents each related to a “self-evolving generic index” for organizing a database using “specialized indices” and allowing users to add new parameters. BuySeasons moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim, which the district court converted to a motion for summary judgment and granted. BSG appealed.
On appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed, finding BSG’s claims directed to the abstract idea of “considering historical usage information while inputting data.” The court determined that the claims were only “slightly more detailed” than a generic database under step one of the Alice test and “minimal narrowing” does not save a claim from abstraction. The court distinguished BSG’s abstract claims from the non-abstract claims in Enfish and Visual Memory because BSG claimed information stored in the database, not an improvement to database functionality.
Under Alice step two, the court noted that BSG’s asserted unconventional feature—“that users are guided by summary comparison usage information or relative historical usage information”—merely restated part of the abstract idea. The court explained that narrowing or reformulating an abstract idea does not add “significantly more” to render the claims patent eligible under § 101.