Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Uniloc loses in Cisco v. Uniloc at CAFC

The outcome

Uniloc 2017 LLC appeals from the Northern District of
California’s Rule 12(c) dismissal holding claim 6 of U.S. Patent No. 6,980,522 ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Because claim 6 is directed to an abstract idea and fails to
recite an inventive concept that would otherwise render the
claim eligible, we affirm.

The law

We review a Rule 12(c) dismissal under the law of the
regional circuit, here the Ninth Circuit. OIP Techs., Inc. v., Inc., 788 F.3d 1359, 1362 (Fed. Cir. 2015).
The Ninth Circuit reviews Rule 12(c) judgments de novo,
and construes all allegations of material fact in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party. Lyon v. Chase
Bank USA, N.A., 656 F.3d 877, 883 (9th Cir. 2011); Turner
v. Cook, 362 F.3d 1219, 1225 (9th Cir. 2004). Patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 is a question of law, based on
underlying factual findings. SAP Am., Inc. v. InvestPic,
LLC, 898 F.3d 1161, 1166 (Fed. Cir. 2018). It may be resolved on a motion to dismiss “when there are no factual
allegations that, taken as true, prevent resolving the eligibility as a matter of law.” Aatrix Software, Inc. v. Green
Shades Software, Inc., 882 F.3d 1121, 1125 (Fed. Cir.

Section 101 provides that “[w]hoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or
composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement
thereof,” may obtain a patent. 35 U.S.C. § 101. “Laws of
nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas are not patentable.” Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 573 U.S. 208, 216
(2014) (quoting Assoc. for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad
Genetics, Inc., 569 U.S. 576, 589 (2013)). Under the Supreme Court’s two-step framework for determining patent
eligibility under § 101, we first determine whether the
claims are directed to a “patent-ineligible concept,” such as
an abstract idea. Id. at 217. If so, we “consider the elements of each claim both individually and ‘as an ordered
combination’ to determine whether the additional elements
‘transform the nature of the claim’ into a patent-eligible application.” Id. (quoting Mayo Collaborative Servs. v. Prometheus Labs., Inc., 566 U.S. 66, 78–79 (2012)).

Conclusory arguments failed

Uniloc argues factual allegations in the complaint
should have precluded granting a motion to dismiss. We
do not agree. The district court correctly recognized that
Uniloc’s purported factual allegations were conclusory
statements regarding eligibility. J.A. 5. Uniloc’s counterclaim made only general allegations, such as, “the patent’s
disclosure and claims are drawn to solving a specific, technical problem arising from the evolution of ad-hoc radio
communication systems” or that “the inventions of the ’522
patent were not well-understood, routine or conventional
at the time of the invention.” These are not factual allegations; they are sweeping conclusory statements and the district court properly concluded that they did not preclude
dismissal. See In re Gilead Scis. Sec. Litig., 536 F.3d 1049,
1055 (9th Cir. 2008).


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