Method of Locating Product Information

The Federal Circuit has issued its R.36 Affirmance Without Opinion in the eligibility dispute: Product Association Tech. v. Clique Media Group (Fed. Cir. 2018).  In the case, C.D. Cal Judge Wu dismissed the case on the pleadings under R.12(b)(6) — finding that the claims of U.S. Patent 6,154,738 invalid as a matter of law on subject matter eligibility grounds.  In particular, the court found that the claims are directed to the abstract idea of “locating and sending product information in response to a request” and fail to include anything beyond the excluded idea sufficient to transform the claims into a patent-eligible invention.  I’ll note here that I believe the invention is the brain child of retired patent attorney Charles Call, and is part of a family of five patents.

Claim 1 is reproduced below

1. The method for disseminating product information via the Internet which comprises, in combination, the steps of:

establishing a cross-referencing resource connected to the Internet which includes a database containing a plurality of cross-references, each of said cross-references specifying the correspondence between a group of one or more universal product code values and the Internet address of a source of information which describes the products designated by said group of one or more code values,

transmitting via the Internet a Web page containing at least one hyperlink including a reference to separately stored information, said reference including a particular universal product code value that uniquely designates a selected product,

employing a Web browser program to receive said Web page and display said Web page to a user,

further employing said Web browser to respond to the activation of said hyperlink by said user by transmitting a first request message to said cross-referencing resource, said first request message containing at least a portion of said particular universal product code value,

processing said first request message at said cross-referencing resource by referring to said database to identify the particular Internet address which corresponds to said particular universal product code value and returning a redirection message to said Web browser which contains said particular Internet address;

employing said Web browser to automatically respond to said redirection message by transmitting a second request message to said particular Internet address;

employing a Web server connected to the Internet at said particular Internet address to respond to said second request message by returning product information describing said selected product to said Web browser, and

employing said Web browser program to automatically display said product information from said Web server to said user.

47 thoughts on “Method of Locating Product Information

  1. 10

    I claim:

    A machine method of generating a curve from data supplied to a computer in the form of coordinates of points defining two given segments of tangents to the curve to be generated extending from the end of and subtended by said curve for controlling numerical control system type model forming means, wherein data, in the form of electrical signals representing a table of coordinates of points, of characteristics of a base curve inscribed on a unit-cube between two opposite vertices of said unit-cube is stored in a memory bank of said computer and said computer is programmed (1) to treat electrical signals representing a given arc, defined by the coordinates of the ends of two segments of tangents extending from and subtended by the ends of said given arc, as the transformed curve of said base curve, wherein said ends are considered as the transformed points of vertices of said unit-cube and (2) to calculate and transmit to the control system of said model forming means electrical signals representing the coordinates of a sequence of points of successive ones of said given arc defining said curve to be generated, said computer thereafter automatically performing the steps of:

    (a) transforming the electrical signals representing said coordinates of points defining two given segments of tangents to said curve to be generated by program (1) to define a corresponding change in reference coordinates with respect to the characteristics of the stored base curve;

    (b) calculating the sequence of coordinates of the current points of the transformed base curve of program (1) through the change in reference coordinates obtained from step (a); and

    (c) transmitting electrical signals representing said sequence of coordinates calculated in step (b) from said computer to said model forming means by program (2).

    1. 10.1

      The claim seems pretty computery to me. Yet, (even) Judge Rich held it non-statutory.

    2. 10.2

      I would say it should be eligible because its a process, it’s result is information; that information is consumed by a non-human actor, thus the information cannot be abstract, because no human mind= no abstraction.

      The method would, of course, be totally obvious in light of thousands of electrical inventions that model a real world event with an analog signal.

      Any court, lawyer, or inventor would have a good chance to know what was eligible using my test. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  2. 9

    “More abstract?” “Less abstract?”

    How about, “just right abstract?”

    Reminds one of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears children’s fairy tale.

    All abstract hogwash.

    No wonder China and Europe are eating our IP lunch.

  3. 8

    People consuming information presented in a web browser. The information is abstract AH.

    What could be more abstract?

    1. 8.1

      You’re overlooking the machine consuming the barcode and what not.

    2. 8.2

      Martin, why do you bother to type in comments? It is all just abstract.

      You really need to re-think what you think you know.

      You pull the word abstract out of the lexicon as if it is some magic incantation that erases patent claims. It is just absurd Martin.

    3. 8.3

      To any intellectually honest person that is educated in patent law and science, your comments are absurd.

      You are like some j off clo wn running around saying abstract, abstract, abstract, heh heh heh.

      Grow up boy. We know the justices decided to fabricate new words and burn the patent system down. We get it. But no one believes a word that they say or respects them anymore than having a Pope tell us that the Sun revolves around the Earth.

      You are like some yapping town crier the Pope sent around to jeer at us. So please just S T F U.

      1. 8.3.1

        We know the justices decided to fabricate new words and burn the patent system down.

        Nothing is burning down. Patents are being applied for and granted in historic numbers. I’m making plenty of money without patenting “abstractions” on the Internet. Still an infinite amount of space to explore in the physical world …

        1. 8.3.1.1

          At the same time that you say “nothing is burning down,” you use the very same items to whine incessantly. If you had your way, the very things you offer as not burning down WOULD BE gone, and thus WOULD BE evidence of the opposite point to which you seek to advance.

          Your “logic” is disparate.

        2. 8.3.1.2

          MM, patents are worth 20 percent of what they were pre-AIA. I’d say that is burning down.

          We don’t know the numbers for US inventions. US patents by people living in the US is definitely down —-not up as you say.

          And—again and again–information processing is in the physical world.

          What other world is there? See you have evoked the spiritual world where you think that information processing occurs.

          Your ignorance is just disgusting.

    4. 8.4

      I can hear Martin town crier boy running around saying a gauge is abstract as all it does is display information for human consumption.

      Gets harder everyday putting up with the little tiny weenies that spout this nonsense.

  4. 7

    Just a friendly reminder: all claims involving data processing steps have an abstract component and are likely to suffer from a 101 problem.

    Also, “parsing” or “dissecting” or “interpreting” claims is a necessary part of any analysis involving claims.

    Deal with it. Quit crying about it. Grow up and deal with it.

    1. 7.1

      Says the one that cries the most…

      Stultifying.

  5. 6

    Morse’s telegraph claims (the ones upheld) were much more abstract than this claim 1.

    Claim 1 “Making use of the motive power of magnetism, when developed by the action of such current or currents substantially as set forth in the foregoing description of the first principal part of my invention, as means of operating or giving motion to machinery which may be used to imprint signals upon paper or other suitable material, or to produce sounds in any desired manner, for the purpose of telegraphic communication at any distances.”

    Alice: “At the same time, we tread carefully in construing this exclusionary principle lest it swallow all of patent law …” Not carefully enough. The 1952 Patent Act made the evaluation of patent claims an objective process. The Supreme Court (the one with 4 justices placed by a minority of voters) has destroyed that aspect of the Patent Act. Do conservatives honestly believe that the Supreme Court has some kind of non-activist philosophy? They haven’t been paying attention.

    1. 6.1

      >>The 1952 Patent Act made the evaluation of patent claims an objective process. The Supreme Court (the one with 4 justices placed by a minority of voters)

      These two sentence sum up the last 15-20 years of jurisprudence by the SCOTUS.

    2. 6.2

      Justices are not placed by ANY voters (minority, majority, or otherwise).

      Further, and more to the point here in regards to statutory law especially designated by the Constitution to be the province of ONE particular branch of the government, what the Supreme Court is attempting to do with 35 USC 101 is NOT “interpretation,” but is instead re-writing.

    3. 6.3

      Not carefully enough. The 1952 Patent Act made the evaluation of patent claims an objective process.

      What’s “not objective” about determining whether the “innovation” in the claim is an ineligible abstraction laid on top of the prior art?

      There’s nothing “subjective” involved in that determination unless you believe that determining whether something is factual or not is “subjective”, in which case you are barking up an existential philsophical tree and you might as well complain above every aspect of the legal system (and reality, too — heck, why not?).

      If you have a problem with “subjectivity”, please consider the following statement made by a CAFC judge: “The stored data … is the essence of electronic structure.”

      This is the statement that holds up the entirety of patenting logic (otherwise ineligible) when that logic is carried out by a prior art computing machine specifically built for the purpose of …carrying out logic.

      You want to tell everyone there’s no “subjectivity” there? The “essence of electronic structure”? Seriously?

  6. 5

    When exactly did this retired patent attorney invent the Internet?

    Seems like he should have a substantial Wiki entry at least.

    Not to mention the amazing discovery that “product code values” can be “corresponded” with some type of information — even a related type! Nobody could have predicted that. Just ask Paul Cole, one of the deepest thinkers in this field.

    1. 5.1

      All your ranting goes to 103 and not 101.

      1. 5.1.1

        I’m fact the ineligibility of protecting “associations” between data sets is a 101 issue. It doesn’t matter how non-obvious those associations are.

        You’re welcome for the education.

        1. 5.1.1.1

          Were you “associating” these claims with other claims that you believe are ineligible under 101?

          I’m sorry but “associating” is not a qualified cognition.

          1. 5.1.1.1.1

            You need a court to tell you that can’t protect an association between two data sets with a patent?

            Wow. Do you need a court to tell you when you can go the bathroom, too?

            1. 5.1.1.1.1.1

              You descend into non-sequitors Malcolm.

              There is absolutely nothing abstract about the claimed process (method).

              Your attempts to read “directed to” as some type of protection against scrivining is but a gossamer “but the Ends justify the Means” conclusory affirmation of wha the Court did — without applying any critical thinking to the problem of what the Court did.

              Night Writer’s point about 101 not being the proper Avenue to address your qqing does not go away just because you want to indulge the scrivining of the Court (which, by the way, is far worse than any scrivining that the Court seeks to ‘prevent’) — and the point of which, had you employed any meaningful level of critical thinking to the larger legal issues involved, you would have grasped.

              1. 5.1.1.1.1.1.1

                There is a lot that is abstract about the claims.

                “Corresponding” one set of info with another is an abstraction. For starters.

                Geez if you can’t figute that out no wonder this all seems so “difficult” for you. Poor widdle baby.

                1. You are still attempting to parse the claims and eligibility on a piece-part basis.

                  Eligibility is a final determination of the claims as a whole.

                  Your “lot that is abstract” does NOT apply if you properly look at the law and the method (process) claim at hand.

      2. 5.1.2

        Would you object an examiner using a reference that showed the following:

        establishing a cross-referencing resource connected to the Internet which includes a database containing a plurality of cross-references, each of said cross-references specifying the correspondence between a group of one or more universal product code values and the Internet address of a source of information which describes the products designated by said group of one or more code values,

        a database that associates two types of information

        or even more specific, a database associating a value with a webpage

        transmitting via the Internet a Web page containing at least one hyperlink including a reference to separately stored information, said reference including a particular universal product code value that uniquely designates a selected product,

        transmitting a webpage that includes a hyperlink that includes a reference to one of the types of information

        employing a Web browser program to receive said Web page and display said Web page to a user,

        employing a web browser in the way web browser are designed to work

        further employing said Web browser to respond to the activation of said hyperlink by said user by transmitting a first request message to said cross-referencing resource, said first request message containing at least a portion of said particular universal product code value,

        when the hyperlink is pressed, query the database with the reference

        processing said first request message at said cross-referencing resource by referring to said database to identify the particular Internet address which corresponds to said particular universal product code value and returning a redirection message to said Web browser which contains said particular Internet address;

        retrieving the second type of data (the website) associated with the reference

        employing said Web browser to automatically respond to said redirection message by transmitting a second request message to said particular Internet address;

        redirecting the web browser based on the second type of data (the website)

        employing a Web server connected to the Internet at said particular Internet address to respond to said second request message by returning product information describing said selected product to said Web browser, and

        connecting to the web page in a manner that web browser are designed to do

        employing said Web browser program to automatically display said product information from said Web server to said user.

        displaying a web page in a manner that web browser are designed to do

        1. 5.1.2.1

          OSitA,

          To which section of law are you directing your questions to?

          1. 5.1.2.1.1

            To which section of law are you directing your questions to?

            Explain what difference it would make.

            Serious question. Explain why it matters whether 103 or 101 is used to tank a claim that differs from the prior art only in the recitation of a specific type of data.

            “A method of communicating information, comprising dialing a number into a telephone, wherein …” <– anticipated

            "A method of communicating product information wherein the product is a plastic Korean-made nimberfubber, comprising dialing a number into a telephone, wherein …" <– not anticipated

            Does it matter whether 103 or 101 is used? When? Why? Explain it to everyone.

            1. 5.1.2.1.1.1

              Explain what difference it would make.

              That you even deign to ask such a question speaks ill of you and your “Ends justify the Means” mantra.

              That you add “Serious question” as if you asking such nonsense somehow makes it a serious question only doubles down on you inanity.

              You are an attorney (or at least pretend to be one). You should realize that especially in law, the Ends DO NOT justify the Means, and that it very much matters which Means at law, ANY End is achieved.

              I should not explain this to anyone – YOU should not be asking anyone to explain this to anyone.

          2. 5.1.2.1.2

            Sorry, I meant to put under section 102/103.

            1. 5.1.2.1.2.1

              Gotcha, thanks.

    2. 5.2

      Product information is very special. Slightly higher index of refraction compared to online Tetris high score ranking information but, oddly enough, the former data tends to sublimate at Martian atmospheric pressures while the latter remains a liquid.

      1. 5.2.1

        … you appear to be trying to elevate the clue of Machine Or Transformation into a legal requirement again…

        Even the broken scoreboard Court denied what you are attempting (and did so 9-0).

  7. 4

    Retired patent attorneys who “innovate” are claims like this are the real “genius” innovators. The best people!

    Sure they are. If we only we could encourage more patent attorneys to “innovate” more claims like this one the Internet would be so much more useful.

  8. 3

    Great result, and the right result.

  9. 2

    Looking at the patent specification, this seems substantially more than a mere idea. It combines specific coding systems to produce a (hopefully) new result.

    Very disappointing. En banc?

    1. 2.1

      The specification (?) combines specific coding systems to produce a (hopefully) new result?

      Well, the claim does require a “particular” Internet address. And a Web server (!) connected to the Internet (!) at the particular Internet address (!).

      1. 2.1.1

        Paul Cole is a reliable shill for this kind of crap.

        Look at all the words! They must mean something very profound! After all, why would an attorney use so many of them?

        1. 2.1.1.1

          I have never used insulting language in relation to any comment of MM’s. And my comments are reasoned based on as much study of cases as time permits, in contrast to mere sarcastic and unworthy assertions.

          Furthermore, my comments are made in my own name and anyone can ascertain my personal details and comment directly if needed. MM is merely behaving in relation to his last comment as an anonymous troll undeserving of respect in our profession.

          1. 2.1.1.1.1

            And it will never end with MM. I have been blogging on this site since spring of 2005. MM hasn’t changed a bit.

          2. 2.1.1.1.2

            A few counter points worth noting to your post in reply to the more than thirteen and a half years of Malcolm’s “swagger**”

            ** as the late Ned Heller embraced what passes as Malcolm’s quips.

            I have never used insulting language in relation to any comment of MM’s

            Um, ok. So what? It’s not as if insulting language is never appropriate. There is a difference between the vapid, and aimless ad hominem (as typified by Malcolm), and the use of rhetorical ad hominem (as typified for example, by myself). Sharp words may be an (appropriate) assault on the unthinking.

            my comments are reasoned based on as much study of cases as time permits, in contrast to mere sarcastic and unworthy assertions.

            A decent point in and of itself. Certainly, study-less “mere sarcasm” falls to the type of mindless ad hominem that differentiates from better (but still sharp) words. As to “worthy,” well, there be no hold on a person using their own name to any notion of “worthy,” which segues into the next comment:

            my comments are made in my own name and anyone can ascertain my personal details and comment directly if needed.

            The notion of “but I use my own name” is beyond banal. Further, here, Malcolm’s tactics matter not at all if his target is using his own name or not, so the rejoinder falls to the same “unthinking” class that Paul wishes to assail. The option of using one’s own name is just that: merely an option. The content of posts is all that matters. There have been plenty of people “using their own names” to whose content, one may ascribe little to no value. Likewise, some with anonymous or pseudonymous usage, the content of which is highly valuable. To choose to depend on any type of “borrowed authority” for actual content of comments is of course an option open to all. But make no mistake, NOT taking that option has nothing at all to do with determining the value (or lack thereof) of contributions, and the fall-back to “but I use my real name” is at best a distraction to focusing on content.

            MM is merely behaving in relation to his last comment as an anonymous troll undeserving of respect in our profession.” – Similarly, Malcolm being anonymous or otherwise has shown NO deserving of respect, as it is his “content” as it were that would determine such, and his “content” L O N G has been absent of any such meaningful attribution for critical thinking in the patent law domain.

            Long and short of it, Paul, is that the editors here very much “control the ecosystem” regardless of anonymous or pseudonymous usage (real identity is known to the editors), and IF DESIRED, Malcolm’s tendencies could have long ago been nipped. As it is, even with the uneven application of existing editorial controls, Malcolm remains the poster who has had more posts expunged than any one else. Moreso, Malcolm remains the poster who has had more posts expunged than every one else — combined.

            1. 2.1.1.1.2.1

              I’d say Dennis tends to favor anti-patent posts over pro-patent posts.

          3. 2.1.1.1.3

            And I never made up gaping falsehoods in defense of a “do it on the Internet” claim like you did, Paul.

            Own it.

            1. 2.1.1.1.3.1

              But you nigh constantly make gaping falsehoods in attacking computing claims.

              Own that!

          4. 2.1.1.1.4

            …and tellingly, Malcolm has NO on-point rebuttal to share.

  10. 1

    >>“locating and sending product information in response to a request”

    Oh yes, the Pharaohs used to send out scouts to evaluate how well the crops were doing. Same thing more or less.

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