This morning the Federal Circuit released two precedential opinions. The first comes in a patent case appealed from the Western District of Washington. In its opinion, the Federal Circuit affirms the district court’s invalidation of patent claims based on subject matter eligibility; notably, Judge Stoll dissented in part. The second comes in another patent case appealed from the Northern District of California. In this opinion, the Federal Circuit reverses the district court’s finding of invalidity based on indefiniteness; notably, Judge Dyk dissented. The Federal Circuit also released three nonprecedential opinions. The first and second come in veterans cases appealed from the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims; the third comes in a case appealed from the Merit Systems Protection Board. Here are the introductions to the opinions.

International Business Machines Corp. v. Zillow Group, Inc. (Precedential)

International Business Machines Corporation sued Zillow Group, Inc. and Zillow, Inc. for infringement of several patents related to graphical display technology. The district court granted Zillow’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, concluding that two of the asserted patents claimed ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Because we agree that the patents are directed to abstract ideas and lack an inventive concept, we affirm.

STOLL, Circuit Judge, dissenting-in-part.

I respectfully dissent-in-part. I agree with the majority that the district court properly entered judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) holding the ’789 patent claims and several of the ’389 patent claims ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. I would, however, reverse the district court’s judgment of patent ineligibility for claims 9 and 13 of the ’389 patent. The complaint and IBM’s expert declaration attached to the complaint contain numerous plausible factual allegations that, when accepted as true, together with all reasonable inferences, state a plausible basis for eligibility. The district court erred by ignoring these plausible factual allegations and the majority’s affirmance repeats this error. Dismissal was improper.

Nature Stimulation Systems Inc. v. Autodesk, Inc. (Precedential)

Nature Simulation Systems Inc. (“NSS”) is the owner of United States Patents No. 10,120,961 (“the ’961 patent”) and No. 10,109,105 (“the ’105 patent”), both entitled “Method for Immediate Boolean Operations Using Geometric Facets.” The patents relate to methods of performing computer-aided operations for three-dimensional objects.

NSS brought suit for infringement against Autodesk, Inc. in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. At issue were claims 1 and 8 of the ’961 patent and claim 1 of the ’105 patent. The district court held a claim construction (Markman) hearing and ruled the claims invalid on the ground of claim indefiniteness, 35 U.S.C. § 112(b). That decision is the subject of this appeal.

We conclude that the district court erred on the legal standard for claim indefiniteness, and that on the correct standard the claims are not indefinite. The decision of invalidity on this ground is reversed.

DYK, Circuit Judge, dissenting.

Contrary to the majority, I think that the asserted claims are invalid because they are indefinite. The majority faults the district court for applying an incorrect “[c]laim language, standing alone” standard for definiteness. Maj. Op. 10–11. This language, quoted from Autodesk’s expert declaration, appears nowhere in the district court’s opinion and forms no part of its decision. In a detailed and thorough analysis, the district court read the patent’s claims in light of the specification and prosecution history to determine if it would inform those skilled in the art about the scope of the invention with reasonable certainty, which is exactly what is required under Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc., 572 U.S. 898, 910 (2014). Regardless, the question of definiteness is a legal question which we review de novo, and the majority’s legal conclusion is, in my view, manifestly incorrect.

Thornton v. McDonough (Nonprecedential)

Robert Thornton appeals the decision of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Veterans Court) affirming the decision of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals that his appeal was untimely. Because we lack jurisdiction, we dismiss his appeal.

Rucker v. McDonough (Nonprecedential)

Tarrie Rucker, Sr., appeals a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (“Veterans Court”) affirming a Board of Veterans’ Appeals (“Board”) decision denying him an earlier effective date for his service-connected depressive disorder. We affirm.

Hritz v. Merit Systems Protection Board (Nonprecedential)

Dennis R. Hritz appeals a decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) dismissing Mr. Hritz’s appeal of an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) decision for lack of jurisdiction. We affirm.