Solutran’s new petition for writ of certiorari asks a seemingly simple question:
Does Alice’s step one require that the claims be viewed as a whole and that consideration be given to the claimed advance over the prior art?
Solutran, Inc., v. Elavon, Inc. (Supreme Court 2020).
In the underlying litigation, the district court denied the defendant’s summary judgment motion on eligibility. Similarly, the USPTO PTAB had refused to institute a covered-business-method review on eligibility — explaining that the method of processing paper checks includes nothing “that would indicate that it is directed to an abstract idea at all.” On appeal, however, the Federal Circuit reversed — holding that the claims were directed to the abstract idea of crediting a merchant’s account as early as possible while electronically processing a check.
Claim 1 of U.S. Patent No. 8,311,945 is a method of processing checks and lists a four step process: (1) receiving data associated with magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) for each paper check (but not an image file of the checks); (2) crediting the merchant account; (3) subsequently scanning the checks for a digital image and (4) comparing the scanned image with the MICR information.