By Peter Leung, Bloomberg BNA
Intellectual Ventures I LLC couldn’t convince a federal appeals court today to resurrect several patents used to sue Capital One Financial Corp. and Erie Indemnity Co.
In two separate cases, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed lower court rulings that several of IV’s patents were invalid because they covered unpatentable subject matter.
The cases reflect the continuing difficulty of defending software-related patents from validity challenges. Critics say U.S. patent law has become unfairly stacked against inventors, while others say the law is doing what it is supposed to—preventing patent assertion entities such as IV from suing companies using broad patents that cover abstract concepts.
In IV v. Capital One, the court affirmed the invalidity of U.S. Patent No. 7,984,081, which covers methods and systems for managing data stored in the extensible markup language (XML) format.
The court affirmed the lower court’s ruling that the patent covered an abstract idea and lacked an inventive concept that would otherwise make the invention patentable.
The court also affirmed the lower court’s finding that IV was blocked from asserting U.S. Patent No. 6,715,084 because another district court had previously ruled that the patent was invalid.
In IV v. Erie Indemnity, the court affirmed rulings that several of IV’s patents, also relating to XML data, covered unpatentable abstract ideas. The court, however, reversed as to one of the patents, finding the lower court did not have jurisdiction to consider its validity because IV did not own the patent and the true owner was not involved in the case.
Intellectual Ventures I LLC v Capital One Fin. Corp., Fed. Cir., No. 2016-1077, 3/7/17. Intellectual Ventures I LLC v Erie Indem. Co., Fed. Cir., No. 2016-1028, 3/7/17.