Ultramercial, LLC and Ultramercial, Inc. v. Hulu, LLC and WildTangent, Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Patents
  • Date Filed: 09-15-2011
  • Case #: 2010-1544
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit; Before: Rader, Lourie, and O’Malley
  • Full Text Opinion

With the exceptions of laws of nature, physical phenomena, and abstract ideas, the court should determine patentability of subject matter based on 35 U.S.C. §§ 102, 103, and 112 rather than 35 U.S.C. § 101; The application of an abstract idea may be patentable subject matter.

For full opinion:
2011 U.S.App.LEXIS 19048
2011 WL 4090761

Opinion (Rader): Ultramercial, LLC and Ultramercial, Inc. (collectively, “Ultramercial”) appealed the decision of the District Court for the Central District of California holding U.S. Patent No. 7,346,545 (“the ‘545 patent”) invalid as failing to claim patent-eligible subject matter. The ‘545 patent claimed “a method for collecting revenue from the distribution of media products over the internet.” The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit REVERSED and REMANDED the case finding that “the ‘545 patent claim[ed] a ‘process’ within the language and meaning of 35 U.S.C. § 101.” In holding that the ‘545 patent was patentable subject matter the Court stated that the categories of patent-eligible subject matter are not substitutes for the substantive patentability requirements set forth in 35 U.S.C. §§ 102, 103, and 112 and the only subject matters that have been held to be ineligible for patent protection due purely to type of subject matter are laws of nature, physical phenomena, and abstract ideas. The Court found that although the ‘545 patent was based on an abstract idea it was an application of the abstract idea and could obtain patent protection. The Court of Appeals REMANDED to the District Court with instructions to determine the patentability of the ‘545 patent dependent on the criteria set forth in 35 U.S.C. §§ 102, 103, and 112.

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