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Internet Patents Corp. v. Active Network, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

June 23, 2015

INTERNET PATENTS CORPORATION, f/k/a Insweb Corporation, Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
ACTIVE NETWORK, INC., THE GENERAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE SERVICES, INC., d/b/a the General, Permanent General Assurance Corporation, PERMANENT GENERAL ASSURANCE CORPORATION OF OHIO, QUINSTREET, INC., TREE.COM, INC., Defendants-Appellees

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in Nos. 3:12-cv-05036-JSW, 3:12-cv-05035-JSW, 3:12-cv-06506-JSW, 3:12-cv-06505-JSW, Judge Jeffrey S. White.

JOSEPH GRECO, Beck, Ross, Bismonte & Finley, LLP, San Jose, CA, argued for plaintiff-appellant. Also represented by JUSTIN BECK, KIMBERLY ZAPATA.

MATTHEW D. MURPHEY, Troutman Sanders LLP, Irvine, CA, argued for defendant-appellee Active Network, Inc. Also represented by MEGHAN CANTY SHERRILL.

JOHN FRANCIS TRIGGS, Patterson Intellectual Property Law, P.C., Nashville, TN, argued for defendants-appellees The General Automobile Insurance Services, Inc., Permanent General Assurance Corporation of Ohio, Quinstreet, Inc. Defendants-appellees The General Automobile Insurance Services, Inc., Permanent General Assurance Corporation of Ohio also represented by RYAN D. LEVY. Defendant-appellee Quinstreet, Inc., represented by THOMAS F. FITZPATRICK, ANDY H. CHAN, Pepper Hamilton LLP, Redwood City, CA.

STEPHEN S. KORNICZKY, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP, San Diego, CA, argued for defendant-appellee Tree.com, Inc. Also represented by EDWARD V. ANDERSON, DEEPALI BRAHMBHATT, MICHAEL MURPHY.

Before NEWMAN, MOORE, and REYNA, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1344

Newman, Circuit Judge.

Internet Patents Corporation (IPC) appeals the judgments of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, dismissing the complaints in four related actions for infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,707,505 (the '505 Patent) on the ground of patent ineligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101.[1]

IPC had filed suits for infringement of the '505 Patent against The General Automobile Insurance Services, Inc. (" The General" ); Active Network, Inc. (" Active" ); Tree.com, Inc. (" Tree.com" ); and QuinStreet, Inc. (" QuinStreet" ). The district court, applying 35 U.S.C. § 101, held the '505 Patent invalid for failure to meet the eligibility requirements of patentable subject matter. IPC appealed, and while the appeal was pending, the Supreme Court decided Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int'l, 134 S.Ct. 2347, 189 L.Ed.2d 296, 82 L.Ed.2d 296 (2014). We requested, and received, supplemental briefing addressing the relevance of Alice to this case. We now affirm the judgment of the district court.

Background

As the district court stated, the '505 Patent claims " the use of a conventional web browser Back and Forward navigational functionalities without data loss in an online application consisting of dynamically generated web pages." Dist. Ct. Op. at 1269. The court described the '505 Patent subject matter as " retaining information lost in the navigation of online forms," id., and deemed this to be an abstract concept and thus ineligible for patenting:

The Court finds that by setting out the abstract idea of a known technological challenge without setting out any specific disclosures, the Patent " added no elements or combination of elements, sometimes referred to as the inventive concept, sufficient to ensure that the patent in practice amounts to significantly more than a patent upon the natural law [or the abstract idea]."

Id. (alteration in original) (quoting Mayo Collaborative Servs. v. Prometheus Labs., Inc., 132 S.Ct. 1289, 1294, 182 L.Ed.2d 321 (2012)).

Claim 1 is the broadest claim:

1. A method of providing an intelligent user interface to an online application comprising the steps of:

Page 1345

furnishing a plurality of icons on a web page displayed to a user of a web browser, wherein each of said icons is a hyperlink to a dynamically generated online application form set, and wherein said web browser comprises Back and Forward navigation functionalities;
displaying said dynamically generated online application form set in response to the activation of said hyperlink, wherein said dynamically generated online application form set comprises a ...

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