Patent Case Summaries June 26, 2024

Patent Case Summaries | Week Ending June 21, 2024

Beteiro, LLC v. DraftKings Inc., et al., Nos. 2022-2275, -2277, -2278, -2279, -2281, -2283 (Fed. Cir. (D.N.J.) June 21, 2024). Opinion by Stark, joined by Dyk and Prost.

Beteiro owns four related patents directed to devices and methods for remote gambling at a gaming facility. Beteiro filed infringement suits against various online gambling platforms. In response, each defendant filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss on the ground that the patent claims are directed to nonpatentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The district court applied the two-part Alice/Mayo test and granted all the motions. Beteiro appealed.

The Federal Circuit affirmed, agreeing with the district court’s application of both steps of the Alice/Mayo test.

Under step one, the district court ruled that the claims are directed to the abstract idea of “exchanging information concerning a bet and allowing or disallowing the bet based on where the user is located.” The Federal Circuit agreed, explaining that the claims “exhibit several features that are well-settled indicators of abstractness.” First, “the claims broadly recite generic steps of a kind we have frequently held are abstract.” Second, “the claims are drafted using largely (if not entirely) result-focused functional language.” Third, the court’s precedent has “concluded that broadly analogous claims” are abstract. Lastly, the claimed methods were similar to “fundamental … practices long prevalent,” providing “yet another clue that the claims may be abstract and unpatentable.”

Under step two, the district court found that the claims failed to provide an inventive concept because they achieved the abstract steps “using several generic computers.” The Federal Circuit again agreed. Beteiro argued that the claims require GPS and that the complaint raised a genuine dispute relating to whether GPS was conventional technology. The Federal Circuit rejected the argument, ruling “there is no plausible, non-conclusory allegation that the claimed GPS is anything other than part of a set of generic computer components.”

The Federal Circuit was also unmoved by Beteiro’s observation that the patent examiner had analyzed § 101 and allowed the claims. According to the Federal Circuit, “a patent examiner’s consideration of Section 101 issues does not in any way shield the patent’s claims from Article III review for patent eligibility.” And in any event, here “the examiner applied pre-Alice caselaw.”

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