This past Thursday, Judge Lucy H. Koh issued a decision, Orcinus Holdings, LLC v. Synchronoss Techs., Inc., No. 18-CV-06199-LHK, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58619 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 4, 2019), granting the Defendant's motion to dismiss in a patent infringement case. Orcinus Holdings is a subsidiary of Dropbox, Inc.. The Plaintiff alleged that its patent for backing up personal data was infringed.
The court denied the claim in part because, "The concept of data retrieval from a server is generalized computer activity." Id. at * 35. A claim for a patent which describes functions generic to a computer will be denied. Tagging data that corresponds to a data field, is 'known in the art'. Likewise transmitting data from a customer premises equipment (CPE) to a server with a user ID is also known in the art, and the Plaintiff's method was not a specific improvement. The Court also focused on the fact that an automated processes covered by the Plaintiff's patent could be performed manually. "So long as the underlying process claimed in the patent can be performed manually by a human, that is enough to find that a patent is directed toward an abstract idea." Id. at *43. Five years ago in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, 573 U.S. 208 (2014), the Supreme Court of the United States, held that implementing abstract ideas on a computer are not sufficient to create a patentable subject matter. Storing, transmitting, and retrieving data can be performed manually, and so are abstract.
The Court also did not find that the Plaintiff's claim was an inventive concept, which the Alice test holds can make an abstract idea patentable with inventive computing. However the Court held that, "(1) storing data at the mobile customer premises equipment ("CPE"); (2) formatting the data stored at the CPE; (3) transmitting the data with a user ID from the CPE across a mobile network to a server; (4) retrieving data stored in the server in response to either an expiration of time or a request from the CPE; and (5) transmitting the data to the CPE in multiple sequentially-numbered information signals.", were not inventive concepts. Orcinus, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58619, at * 46.