A Recent Opinion From The Eastern District Of Texas Addresses Numerous Alice/Section 101 Issues

In its September 24, 2018 opinion in Intellectual Ventures v. Sprint, et. al., the Eastern District of Texas Court made several rulings that touch on a number of issues that patent owners and parties defending patent infringement allegations should consider. This opinion was the result of two identical Section 101 Motions to Dismiss filed in two companion cases involving multiple asserted patents. The first issue addressed by the Court was whether the three claims that defendants’ motion analyzed were in fact “representative” of all the asserted claims in the six asserted patents. Noting the brevity with which this was addressed by the defendants (in two footnotes of their motions), the Court determined that defendants failed to sufficiently demonstrate that the three claims were representative of the other claims. The Court then turned to its Alice analysis of the three claims addressed in defendants’ motions. Here, the Court found one claim to be directed to an abstract concept and failed to contain an inventive concept. (The patent owners argument that it would prove an inventive concept at trial didn’t seem to gain much traction). Addressing the second claim, the Court found it directed to an abstract idea but that there was a question of fact as to whether the claim contained an inventive concept. And finally, with respect to the third claim, the Eastern District of Texas Court determined the claim was not directed to an abstract concept under Alice.