By: Daniel A. Geselowitz, Ph.D.
Introduction: The issue of patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. §101 has been the subject of important U.S Supreme Court decisions in recent years, in particular in Mayo Collaborative Servs. v. Prometheus Labs., Inc. (2012), Ass’n for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc. (2013), and Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l, (2014). This issue is relevant to a variety of technologies, including biotechnology and computer systems. The recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in Uniloc USA, Inc. v. LG Electronics USA, Inc. focuses on this issue in regard to a patent directed to a communication system.
Background: Uniloc sued LG Electronics alleging infringement of Uniloc’s U.S. Patent No. 6,993,049. LG moved to dismiss Uniloc’s complaint, arguing that the claims of the ’049 patent are ineligible under 35 U.S.C. §101. The district court granted LG’s motion, determining that the asserted claims are directed to an abstract idea and do not recite an inventive concept. Uniloc appealed to the CAFC.