On November 22, 2013, District Judge Denise Cote granted defendant Findthebest.com’s motion for judgment on the pleadings because the asserted patent claimed the abstract idea of computer-assisted matchmaking, rendering it invalid under § 101.
Findthebest.com operates a website that matches users with goods or services according to criteria the users enter, and plaintiff Lumen View is a company that owns patents and licenses them to others for fees. At issue was U.S. Patent 8,069,073 (“the ’073 patent”) which was entitled “System and Method for Facilitating Bilateral and Multilateral Decision-Making,” and claimed “A computer-implemented method for facilitating evaluation in connection with . . . products or services” involving parties and counterparties by (a) retrieving preference information from at least two parties, (b) computing a “closeness-of-fit value” based on both sets of preference information, and (c) providing a list matching counterparties based on the closeness-of-fit value.
The court applied a “holistic analysis” based on Supreme Court precedent outlined in Bilski v. Kappos, 130 S.Ct. 3218 (2010), and noted that in CLS Bank International v. Alice Corporation, 717 F.3d 1269 (Fed. Cir. 2013) (en banc) (per curiam) “the Federal Circuit attempted, unsuccessfully, to provide definitive guidance to lower courts adjudicating a claim of impermissible abstractness.” Nonetheless, the court drew upon the separate tests set out by Judge Rader and Judge Lourie in Alice, which both required additional meaningful limitations when a claim contains an abstract idea, to ensure the abstract idea itself is not all the claim covers. Applying a holistic analysis, the court reasoned that (1) the claimed process would preempt all applications of the abstract idea of matchmaking, (2) the claims lack meaningful limitations restricting them to a specific application, (3) there was a lack of genuine human contribution to the subject matter—namely that having parties input preferences is something matchmakers have been doing for millennia, and that the closeness-of-fit value was merely a mathematical manifestation of “determining good matches,” and (4) the computer used was not specifically programmed to facilitate the process in a way that a human could not. Applying the “machine or transformation test,” the court held that the steps claimed do not require a computer to be performed, and the method does not physically transform anything.
The court also rejected Lumen View’s assertion that it should not decide the motion for judgment on the pleadings before claim construction because the Federal Circuit has held that conducting a claim construction analysis before addressing section 101 is “not required.”
Case: Lumen View Tech. LLC v. Findthebest.com, Inc., No. 13 Civ. 3599 (DLC), 2013 BL 326789, (S.D.N.Y. November 22, 2013)