Bloomberg Law
Oct. 13, 2022, 2:55 PM

Google Escape From Location-Search Patents Overturned on Appeal

Kelcee Griffis
Kelcee Griffis

The Federal Circuit rescued two patents that a lower court canceled in an inventor’s infringement lawsuit against Google LLC, ruling Thursday in a precedential opinion that the patents—related to geographically targeted search results—solve a specific, internet-centric problem and are patent eligible.

The panel, however, agreed with the lower court that two other patents covering digital business cards are too abstract to receive protection, as “the claims are directed to creating a digital travel log.”

Inventor Sholem Weisner sued Google in 2020, alleging it infringes his US Patent Nos. 10,380,202, 10,642,910, 10,394,905 and 10,642,911, which deal with systems that allow users to exchange information with businesses or locations and use that information to enhance web search results. A New York federal court dismissed the case based on findings that the patents cover ineligible subject matter.

A split panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit panel disagreed that the ’905 and ’911 patents—covering search result improvements that narrow and target results to the user based on geography— are ineligible for protection, saying the district court should have analyzed them separately from the travel log patents.

The ‘905 and ‘911 patents display an “emphasis on using location histories in computerized searching as a distinct concept from mere accumulation of location histories,” transforming an otherwise abstract idea into something that can be protected, Circuit Judge Kara F. Stoll said.

“We conclude that Mr. Weisner has plausibly alleged that the ’905 and ’911 patent claims recite a specific implementation of the abstract idea that purports to solve a problem unique to the Internet and that, accordingly, these claims should not have been held ineligible,” Stoll wrote.

Circuit Judge Todd M. Hughes partially dissented from the ruling, writing that the “algorithms used to incorporate location data are routine and conventional” and that he would’ve upheld the district court’s conclusion that the ‘905 and ‘911 patent claims are ineligible.

Circuit Judge Jimmie V. Reyna also served on the panel.

Jacob Ginsburg, Esq. PLLC and Aronberg Goldgehn Davis & Garmisa represent Weisner. Fenwick & West LLP represents Google.

The case is Weisner v. Google LLC, Fed. Cir., No. 21-02228, precedential decision 10/13/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kelcee Griffis in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Adam M. Taylor at; Jay-Anne B. Casuga at