October 15, 2021

Volume XI, Number 288

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Graphical User Interface Improvements Without Pre-Electronic Analog Found Patent Eligible

TRADING TECHS. INT’L, INC. v. CQG, INC.: Jan. 18, 2017. Before Newman, O’Malley, Wallach.

Takeaway:

  • A new application or computer-implemented function is patent eligible when it is not simply the use of a computer to conduct a known process, but rather improves the whole system’s capability.

Procedural Posture:

Judge Coleman of the Northern District of Illinois denied the defendant, CQG’s, Motion for judgment as a matter of law that the claims of the two asserted patents—which  claim a method and system for the electronic trading of stocks, bonds, futures, options, and similar products—were directed to patent-ineligible subject matter. CQG appealed.  CAFC affirmed.

Synopsis:

  • Subject Matter Eligibility: The CAFC affirmed that the patents’ claims were not directed to an abstract idea and thus were patent eligible subject matter. Under Step 1 of Alice’s two-step framework, the CAFC agreed with the district court that claims requiring “a specific, structured graphical user interface paired with a prescribed functionality directly related to the graphical user interface’s structure” are directed to a specific improvement to the ways computers operate.  The court noted that the graphical user interface improvements had no pre-electronic trading analog, and were not an idea that had long existed—the “threshold criterion of an abstract idea and ineligible concept.”  Similarly, the CAFC agreed with the district court’s alternative analysis under Alice’s Step 2. The claimed static price index was an “inventive concept” that allowed traders to more efficiently and accurately place trades using this new electronic‑trading system.  This system was distinguished from the routine or conventional use of computers or the Internet, and the specific structure and corresponding functionality of the graphical user interface were not abstract ideas, in contrast to conventional computer implementations of known procedures.  Judge Newman’s opinion provides a brief discussion of recent precedent finding patent-eligible subject matter and distinguishes the current case from several recent cases that “negated patent eligibility.”  The CAFC reiterated its precedent holding that specific technological modifications to solve a problem or improve a known system’s functioning  generally produce patent-eligible subject matter.
Copyright © 2021, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume VII, Number 33
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About this Author

Paul D. Ackerman, Litigation Attorney, IP Lawyer, Andrews Kurth Law Firm, New York
Partner

Paul's practice involves all aspects of intellectual property law with an emphasis on patent litigation and trial. He has represented clients in a wide range of popular forums for patent litigation, such as the Eastern District of Texas, the Eastern District of Virginia, the District of Delaware, and the Northern and Central Districts of California, and in “337 actions” before the International Trade Commission. Paul has litigated both utility and design patent cases across a wide range of technologies, including cellular telephony, software, internet technology, semiconductor fabrication...

212.850.2858
Associate

Armin’s practice focuses on patent litigation with an emphasis on electrical, mechanical and telecommunication arts. He has a broad background in litigation matters, including defending clients against invalidity and unenforceability claims, editing and reviewing expert reports, and drafting general pleadings and discovery motions. 

In addition, Armin’s practice includes patent prosecution in the electrical, mechanical, computer science, and business method related arts. He has extensive experience preparing and prosecuting U.S. patent...

212-908-6207
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