Ficep Corporation v. Peddinghaus Corporation


Question(s) Presented

“Ficep invented and claimed a method of manufacturing components (like steel beams) of a larger structure (like the skeleton of a building). The claims specifically recite a method of manufacturing the component and a manufacturing line for doing so.”

“That the invention was an important real-world manufacturing innovation was, as a factual matter, thoroughly established. The improvement was touted as enabling vastly more efficient and superior manufacture of components – not just by Petitioner’s experts, but also in the defendant’s advertising. There was industry recognition applauding the ‘innovation.’ There was copying by competitors. There was successful litigation and licensing. And there was specific customer demand for the improvement to the manufacturing process. That is, every objective indicium of inventiveness that this Court has identified was present in the technological, traditionally patent-eligible, setting of manufacturing lines.”

“The Federal Circuit nevertheless invalidated the patent claims as ‘abstract’ and refused to consider evidence of inventiveness. This petition therefore addresses the following questions:”

1. “Does a claim directed to patent-eligible subject matter (here, manufacturing) nevertheless become ineligible as ‘abstract’ if the process is improved using automation?”

a. “Should an ‘abstract-idea’ behind a claim to a patent-eligible process be identified and, if so, how and at what level of abstraction?”

2. “What is the appropriate standard for determining whether a claim is ‘inventive,’ conferring eligibility under Alice Step 2, including whether objective evidence of inventiveness and technological improvement is relevant?”

3. “Is either what a claim is ‘directed to’ and whether that is abstract, or whether a claim is ‘inventive’ as articulated in Alice step 2, only for a judge to decide as a legal matter or does it include fact issues and, if the latter, are they for a jury?”

Posts About this Case

Proceedings and Orders
March 12, 2024
DISTRIBUTED for Conference of 3/28/2024.
April 1, 2024
Petition DENIED.