On Wednesday, July eleventh, the Court of Offers for the Government Circuit issued a choice in Apple v. ContentGuard Property abandoning a choice by the Patent Preliminary and Claim Board (PTAB) to establish a secured business strategy (CBM) legitimacy continuing. The Government Circuit board of Circuit Judges Jimmie Reyna, William Bryson, and Todd Hughes chose that the PTAB applied the wrong legitimate standard to decide whether the tested patent was liable to CBM audit, referring to the standard set out by the Elected Circuit in its 2016 choice in Unwired Planet v. Google.
The patent at issue is U.S. Patent No. 7774280, titled Framework and Strategy for Overseeing Exchange of Rights Utilizing Shared State Factors. Issued to ContentGuard in August 2010, it covers a PC actualized technique for exchanging rights adjusted to be related to things from a rights provider to a rights shopper. The invention provides an enhanced digital rights management (DRM) system, giving content publishers more control over transactions between downstream parties.
Legal Battles Unfold
ContentGuard asserted the ‘280 patent against Apple in a December 2013 claim and later against Google in a February 2014 claim, both filed in the Eastern Area of Texas. Apple responded by filing a series of six petitions for validity challenges on the ‘280 patent at the PTAB between December 2014 and July 2015, including four petitions for inter partes review (IPR) procedures and two petitions for CBM review. Google joined Apple on one of the CBM reviews, which ultimately resulted in the ‘280 patent being deemed unpatentable.
Federal Circuit’s Intervention
Surprisingly, the Federal Circuit vacated the PTAB’s determination of unpatentable subject matter after appeals from Google and Apple. Despite the PTAB’s finding, ContentGuard was allowed to amend claims, enabling them to challenge the determination that the ‘280 patent was subject to CBM review.
Unwired Planet Precedent
Citing Unwired Planet, the Federal Circuit criticized the PTAB’s reliance on patent claims “incidental to” or “complementary to” a financial activity to determine CBM eligibility. The PTAB had asserted that the claimed transfer of rights in the ‘280 patent was “incidental or complementary to a financial activity.” However, the Federal Circuit disagreed, highlighting instances where the patented method could be applied without involving a financial transaction.
Remand and Future Considerations
Analyzing the ‘280 patent’s specification, the Federal Circuit found that the claimed invention could be used in ways not requiring a financial transaction. The court cited an example involving the transfer of meta-rights from a patient to a hospital for the exchange of patient information. Remanding the case back to the PTAB, the Federal Circuit directed the Board to determine whether the ‘280 patent qualifies as a CBM patent without relying on the “incidental to/integral to” standard.
In conclusion, the Federal Circuit’s decision marks a significant development in the ongoing legal battle between ContentGuard, Apple, and Google over the validity of the ‘280 patent. This decision has broader implications, shedding light on the importance of proper legal standards not only in patent validity proceedings but also in contexts like Trademark Registration in Pakistan. The court’s emphasis on accurate interpretation underscores the significance of precise legal considerations across various intellectual property domains.