by Dennis Crouch
In Amdocs v. Openet Telecom, a Federal Circuit panel reversed the lower court’s ineligibility finding over a vigorous dissent. Judges Plager and Newman versus Judge Reyna. Claim 1 of the disputed business-software patent is shown below.
1. A computer program product embodied on a computer readable storage medium for processing network accounting information comprising: computer code for receiving from a first source a first network accounting record; computer code for correlating the first network accounting record with accounting information available from a second source; and computer code for using the accounting information with which the first network accounting record is correlated to enhance the first network accounting record.
U.S. Patent No. 7,631,065.
Although the Federal Circuit walked through its Alice/Mayo analysis, I expect that a more infringer-friendly panel would have almost certainly sided with the district court. Now, Openet has petitioned the Supreme Court for writ of certiorari – arguing that the Federal Circuit improperly reached beyond the clearly overbroad claims when making its decision.
Whether the Federal Circuit erred by looking beyond the claims to the patent specification to assess patent eligibility?
The case here is interesting. Rather than pushing back against Alice and Mayo as many patent attorney suggest, the petitioner here argues that the Federal Circuit is subverting those cases to find claims eligible when they clearly are not. It is possible that the Supreme Court could simply issue a one-line opinion: “Vacated, see Alice/Mayo.” I would look for several amicus briefs on each side of this one.
The unfortunate aspect of this case for most patentees is that it is another business method case — business method patents are unlikely to see friendly eyes from the Supreme Court.