Alice Kills Streaming Video Sharing Patent Claims

Case:  Videoshare LLC v. Google, Inc., No. 13-cv-990 (GMS) (D. Del. August 2, 2016).

Result: Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings of invalidity under 35 U.S.C. § 101 was granted.

Patents: U.S. Patent No. 8,438,608 (“Sharing a streaming video”), and U.S. Patent No. 8,464,302 (“Method and system for sharing video with advertisements over a network”).  The claims of the ’608 patent are directed to sharing streaming media over a network, including generating and embedding identification tags in a web page to share a streaming file.  The ’302 patent is directed to “sharing a streaming video and associated advertisement over a network.”  Representative claims of both patents can be seen at the foregoing links.

Abstract Idea (Alice Step 1): All claims of both patents were directed to “the abstract idea of preparing a video in streaming video format for sharing over a computer network.”  The court rejected the contention “that the claimed invention results in an improvement to computer functionality.”  Instead, “[a]t most, the claims merely automate a sequence of known steps using conventional technology so that a human is not burdened with various manual steps.”

Inventive Concept (Alice Step 2): None: “[t]he claims here specify only conventional steps at a high level of generality, and the association of an advertisement is not sufficient to provide an inventive concept.”

Takeaway: The claims here were directed to a technical environment, and recited steps in that environment.  This case is an illustration of a how a technical environment will not always save the claims.  To perhaps state the obvious, patent claims directed to internet advertising systems will continue to face a steep uphill climb when patent-eligibility is challenged under Section 101.

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