Saturday, September 10, 2022

Smith loses at CAFC

Mr. Smith’s patent application number 14/786,244 relates to software for asset acquisition and management. U.S. Pat. App. Pub. 2016/0063403 at 1. Claim 1, a representative claim, is reproduced below: A method for facilitating asset acquisition, asset management and asset maintenance whereby customers can purchase from multiple vendors comprising: providing to vendor and customer users access to consortium management software; providing and maintaining in said consortium management software relational data base tables which are linked together, including a vendor/customer database table, whereby vendor users and customer users can enter their identifying and personal data, and a searchable product catalogue database table; providing in said searchable product catalogue database for receipt from vendor users, product, product pricing and product maintenance data; providing an inventory database table and a customer asset management database table; providing customer users access to said searchable product catalogue database, whereby a customer searches the catalogue data base and purchases from any vendor user product selected from said product catalogue database; providing for association of any said user's identifying data with information in any database table, which information is pertinent only to a particular said identified user with said users identifying data; [and] linking the purchasing customer's identifying information from the customer/vendor database table, and the product, product pricing and product maintenance data for the selected product or products, to one or both of said inventory database table and/or said customer asset management data base table, such that the customer can retrieve, use and manipulate the product, product pricing and product maintenance data in connection with the management of the assets purchased. Id. at 5. Mr. Smith filed the application at issue, which claims priority from an earlier provisional application, on October 22, 2015. The examiner issued a final office action rejecting the application on March 7, 2019. Mr. Smith appealed this rejection to the Board. The Board affirmed the examiner’s rejection, finding that claim 1 recited “collection, display, and manipulation of data” and was thus directed to an abstract idea, and that it contained no inventive concept that would make it patent eligible. Ex parte Smith, No. 2020-004436, at 10, 17 (P.T.A.B. July 1, 2021). With respect to the dependent claims, the Board determined that Mr. Smith’s arguments were simply restatements of the dependent claims’ limitations and lacked “sufficient particularity” to “explain adequately how the limitations of the dependent claims integrate the abstract idea into a practical application or recite an inventive concept.” Id. at 18. Mr. Smith appeals to this court. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(4)(A).


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