Published 05/07/2019 by CIONCA Team Member
On April 30, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) made a decision in Trading Technologies International, Inc. v. IBG LLC, Interactive Brokers LLC. Trading Technologies International, Inc. (“TT”) is the owner of U.S. Patent No. 7,783,556 (“the ‘556 patent”), which “relates to displaying market information on a screen.” According to the ‘556 patent’s specification, traders may favor analyzing information not normally provided on a screen. Thus, the ‘556 patent’s interface aims to improve traders’ experience by also including the display of profit and loss (“P&L”). “IBG LLC and Interactive Brokers LLC (collectively, ‘Petitioners’) petitioned for review of…the ‘556 patent pursuant to the Transitional Program for Covered Business Method Patents (‘CBM review’).” As such, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“the Board”) completed a CBM review and held that the claims are ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. TT appealed and the Federal Circuit has jurisdiction.
As the review title indicates, “the Board may only institute CBM review for a patent that is a CBM patent,” which is “a patent that claims a method or corresponding apparatus for performing data processing or other operations used in the practice, administration, or management of a financial product or service, except that the term does not include patents for technological inventions.” The criteria of a technological invention are as follows: “‘whether the claimed subject matter as a whole recites a technological feature that is novel and unobvious over the prior art’ and whether it ‘solves a technical problem using a technical solution.’”
First, TT contested whether its patent teaches a technological invention. Relying on Claim 1, the Board determined that the ‘556 patent is not directed towards a technological invention, and thus, is a CBM patent. The Federal Circuit agrees. The display under the patent’s scope seeks to provide additional information to traders; it does not solve a technical problem with a technical solution.
Second, regarding patent eligibility, the ‘556 patent’s focus is to provide additional information to a trader, which the Federal Circuit holds as an abstract idea. Moreover, “the claimed steps for calculating the P&L values…is nothing more than ‘mere automation of manual processes using generic computers,’” rather than an improvement on the technology itself, the ‘556 patent is not a technological invention. Furthermore, the claimed interface fails to recite an inventive concept as it “simply takes the prior art trading screen…and adds P&L values along the axis.” As such, the Federal Circuit concludes the patents claims to be ineligible under § 101.
For the reasons above, the Federal Circuit affirms the Board’s decision.
This decision clarifies what is classified as a technological invention, which is (1) novel and nonobvious, and (2) solves a technical problem with a technical solution. The mere revisioning of existing technological inventions is not enough.
Full Trading Technologies International, Inc. v. IBG LLC, Interactive Brokers LLC decision can be read here: http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/17-2323.Opinion.4-30-2019.pdf
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed throughout this blog are the views and opinions of the individual author(s) and/or contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of our firm, CIONCA IP Law. P.C.
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