Visual Memory LLC v. NVIDIA Corporation
MEMORANDUM OPINION regarding the Motion to Dismiss (D.I. 24 ). Signed by Judge Richard G. Andrews on 5/27/2016. (nms)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
VISUAL MEMORY LLC,
Civil Action No. 15-789-RGA
Stamatios Stamoulis, Esq., Richard Charles Weinblatt, Esq. (argued), Stamoulis & Weinblatt
LLC, Wilmington, DE, attorneys for Plaintiff Visual Memory LLC.
Jack B. Blumenfeld, Esq., Paul Saindon, Esq., Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP,
Wilmington, DE; Maximilian A. Grant, Esq. (argued), Gabriel K. Bell, Esq., Latham & Watkins
LLP, Washington, D.C.; Richard G. Frenkel, Esq., Latham & Watkins LLP, Menlo Park, CA,
attorneys for Defendant NVIDIA Corporation.
Presently before the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.
(D.I. 24). The issues have been fully briefed. (D.I. 25, 29, 33). Oral argument was held on
February 18, 2016. (D.I. 41). For the reasons set forth herein, the motion to dismiss is
Plaintiff filed this patent infringement lawsuit against Defendant on September 8, 2015.
(D.I. 1). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant infringes U.S. Patent No. 5,953,740 (the "'740 patent").
(Id.). On November 6, 2015, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to amend the complaint, which
Defendant opposed. (D.I. 12, 16). After the Court granted the motion in part, Plaintiff filed its
First Amended Complaint on December 8, 2015. (D.I. 22). On December 9, 2015, Defendant
moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), arguing that the '740 patent
was directed to patent-ineligible subject matter. (D.I. 24).
The '740 patent describes a computer system that uses a three-tiered memory hierarchy:
(1) slow, low-cost memory for "bulk storage of data," (2) medium speed memory for the
"system's main memory," and (3) expensive, high speed "processor cache memory." '740 patent
at 1:54-64. During the system's operation, data is "transferred from system memory to the cache
memory in order to have quick access to the variables of the currently executing program." Id. at
2:1-4. "As additional data, not in the cache, is required, such data is transferred from the main
memory by replacing selected data in the cache." Id. at 2:4-6. One factor which affects the
efficiency of the cache is "the number of devices having access to the memory." Id. at 2: 14-17.
As more devices access the memory, the less likely it is that the cache will have the requested
data. Id. at 2:20-21. Another factor affecting efficiency is "the fact that both code and non-code
data are cached." Id. at 2:29-30. When "both code and non-code data are being cached, there
will be overlap in their respective" physical locations in the cache, which may result in a
significant decline in performance (known as "thrashing") "as data is replaced in response to
memory accesses." Id. at 2:32-44.
To solve these problems, the '740 patent claims "[a] computer memory system
connectable to a processor and having one or more programmable operational characteristics."
Id. at 6:28-30. These "characteristics" of the.memory are "programmable as a function of
characteristics based on processor type." Id. at 4:28-30. For instance, for one type of a
processor, the cache may only hold code data, whereas for another type of processor, the cache
may hold "both code and non-code data." Id. at 4:30-35. Or, a cache could, in one instance,
receive data only from sources "other than the system processor," whereas in another, it could
receive data from any source. Id. at 4:35-44. Similarly, the main memory can be "divided into
pages which contain either code or non-code data," where, based on the processor type, the
system can "provide a bias towards code pages or non-code pages" by holding in a register the
"most recently accessed page" of the preferred page type. Id. at 4:52-58.
Section 101 of the Patent Act defines patent-eligible subject matter. It provides:
"Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or
composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor,
subject to the conditions and requirements of this title." 35 U.S.C. § 101. The Supreme Court
has recognized an implicit exception for three categories of subject matter not eligible for
patentability-laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas. Alice Corp. Pty. v. CLS
Bank Int'!, 134 S. Ct. 2347, 2354 (2014). The purpose of these carve outs is to protect the "basic
tools of scientific and technological work." Mayo Collaborative Servs. v. Prometheus Labs.,
Inc., 132 S. Ct. 1289, 1293 (2012). "[A] process is not unpatentable simply because it contains a
law of nature or a mathematical algorithm," as "an application of a law of nature or mathematical
formula to a known structure or process may well be deserving of patent protection." Id. at
1293-94 (internal quotation marks and emphasis omitted). In order "to transform an
unpatentable law of nature into a patent-eligible application of such a law, one must do more
than simply state the law of nature while adding the words 'apply it."' Id. at 1294 (emphasis
The Supreme Court recently reaffirmed the framework laid out in Mayo "for
distinguishing patents that claim laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas from
·those that claim patent-eligible applications of those concepts." Alice, 134 S. Ct. at 2355. First,
the court must determine whether the claims are drawn to a patent-ineligible concept. Id. If the
answer is yes, the court must look to "the elements of the claim both individually and as an
'ordered combination"' to see if there is an "'inventive concept'-i.e., an element or
combination of elements that is 'sufficient to ensure that the patent in practice amounts to
significantly more than a patent upon the [ineligible concept] itself."' Id. (alteration in original).
"A claim that recites an abstract idea must include 'additional features' to ensure 'that the
[claim] is more than a drafting effort designed to monopolize the [abstract idea]."' Id. at 23 57
(alterations in original) (quoting Mayo, 132 S. Ct. at 1297). "[S]imply appending conventional
steps, specified at a high level of generality, to ... abstract ideas cannot make those ... ideas
patentable." Mayo, 132 S. Ct. at 1300. Further, "the prohibition against patenting abstract ideas
cannot be circumvented by attempting to limit the use of [the idea] to a particular technological
environment." Alice, 134 S. Ct. at 2358 (quoting Bilski v. Kappas, 561 U.S. 593, 610-11
(2010)). Thus, "the mere recitation of a generic computer cannot transform a patent-ineligible
abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention." Id. For this second step, the machine-ortransformation test can be a "useful clue," although it is not determinative. Ultramercial, Inc. v.
Hulu, LLC, 772 F.3d 709, 716 (Fed. Cir. 2014), cert. denied, 135 S. Ct. 2907 (2015).
Patent eligibility under § 101 is a question of law suitable for resolution on a motion to
dismiss. See OIP Techs., Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc., 788 F.3d 1359, 1362 (Fed. Cir. 2015);
Content Extraction & Transmission LLC v. Wells Fargo Bank, Nat. Ass 'n, 776 F.3d 1343, 1346
(Fed. Cir. 2014), cert. denied, 136 S. Ct. 119 (2015). The Federal Circuit follows regional circuit
law for motions to dismiss. Content Extraction, 776 F.3d at 1346. When reviewing a motion to
dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), this Court must accept the
complaint's factual allegations as true. See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56
The Federal Circuit has held that the district court is not required to individually address
claims not asserted or identified by the non-moving party, so long as the court identifies a
representative claim and "all the claims are substantially similar and linked to the same abstract
idea." Content Extraction, 776 F.3d at 1348 (internal quotation marks omitted).
The '740 patent has 3 independent claims. Claim 1 of the '740 patent reads:
A computer memory system connectable to a processor and having one or more
programmable operational characteristics, said characteristics being defined through
configuration by said computer based on the type of said processor, wherein said system
is connectable to said processor by a bus, said system comprising:
a main memory connected to said bus; and
a cache connected to said bus;
wherein a programmable operational characteristic of said system determines a
type of data stored by said cache.
'740 patent at 6:28-38. Claim 6 reads:
A computer memory system connectable to a processor and having one or more
programmable operational characteristics, said characteristics being defined through
configuration by said computer based on the type of said processor comprising:
a main memory, connected to said processor by a bus, including a plurality of pages
of a first type and a plurality of pages of a second type; and
a register connected to said memory for holding a page address of a most recently
accessed one of said first type pages;
wherein said page address is used to reopen the most recently accessed one of said
first type pages after one of said second type pages has been accessed; and
wherein a programmable operational characteristic of said system determines a type
of data stored in said main memory.
Id. at 7:3-22. Claim 8 reads:
A computer memory system, connectable to a processor and bus. master by a bus and having
programmable operational characteristics based on characteristics of said processor,
a plurality of caches connected to said bus;
a main memory connected to said bus and including a plurality of pages of a first and
second type; and
a register connected to said memory for holding the page address of the most recently
accessed of said first type pages;
wherein a first programmable characteristic of said system determines whether a first
of said caches stores only code data or whether said first of said caches stores both
non-code data and code data;
wherein a second of said caches performs buffering of data writes to said main
memory, and a second programmable characteristic of said system determines
whether said second of said caches performs buffering of data solely from said bus
master and whether said second of said caches performs buffering of data both from
said bus master and said processor;
wherein said page address is used to reopen a most recently accessed of said first type
pages after one of said second type pages has been accessed; and
wherein a third programmable operational characteristic of said system determines a
type of data stored by said main memory
Id. at 7:27-8:24.
A. Mayo/Alice Step One: Abstract Idea
"First, we determine whether the claims at issue are directed to [an abstract idea]." Alice,
134 S. Ct. at 2355. "The 'abstract ideas' category embodies 'the longstanding rule that an idea
of itself is not patentable.'" Id. (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Gottschalk v.
Benson, 409 U.S. 63, 67 (1972)). In the wake of Alice, "precision has been elusive in defining an
all-purpose boundary between the abstract and the concrete." Internet Patents Corp. v. Active
Network, Inc., 790 F.3d 1343, 1345 (Fed. Cir. 2015). The Supreme Court has recognized,
however, that "fundamental economic practice[s]," Bilski, 561 U.S. at 611, "method[s] of
organizing human activity," Alice, 134 S. Ct. at 2356, and mathematical algorithms, Benson, 409
U.S. at 64, are abstract ideas. Additionally, the Federal Circuit recently found that claims were
not directed to an abstract idea where "the focus of [those] claims [was] on the specific asserted
improvement in computer capabilities ... , [rather than] on a process that.qualifies as an 'abstract
idea' for which computers are invoked merely as a tool." En.fish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp., 2016
WL 2756255, at *5 (Fed. Cir. May 12, 2016).
Defendant contends that the claims of the '740 patent are directed to the abstract idea of
categorical data storage. Though the claims recite limitations pertaining to cache and memory,
code and non-code data, and memory sources, Defendant argues that the abstract idea of
categorical data storage is at the "heart" of the claims. Ultramercial, 772 F.3d at 714. Plaintiff
responds that "[e]very claim ... is an apparatus that requires certain elements to operate in a
certain way, resulting in a tangible working thing that improves the operation of a computer."
(D.I. 29 at 16).
"Under step one of Mayo/Alice, the claims are considered in their entirety to ascertain
whether their character as a whole is directed to excluded subject matter." Internet Patents, 790
F.3d at 1346. Here, the claims are directed to the abstract idea of categorical data storage.
Humans have categorized data for many years. For instance, a library may have an easilyaccessible section for popular novels, while maintaining less accessible storage for less-requested
materials. This is an "undisputably well-known" practice that "humans have always performed."
Content Extraction, 776 F.3d at 1347. Courts have routinely found that similar claims are
directed to abstract ideas. See, e.g., In re TL! Commc'ns LLC Patent Litig., 2016 WL 2865693,
at *3 (Fed. Cir. May 17, 2016) (claims directed to "classifying and storing digital images in an
organized manner" are abstract); Content Extraction, 776 F.3d.at 1347 (claims directed to
collecting, recognizing, and storing data are abstract); Cyberfone Sys., LLC v. CNN Interactive
Grp., Inc., 558 F. App'x 988, 991-92 (Fed. Cir. 2014) ("using categories to organize, store, and
transmit information" is an abstract idea); Cloud Satchel, LLC v. Amazon.com, Inc., 76 F. Supp.
3d 553, 562-64 (D. Del. 2014) (claims were directed to the "abstract idea of cataloguing
documents to facilitate their retrieval from storage in the field ofremote computing"), ajf'd .
mem., 626 F. App'x 1010 (Fed. Cir. 2015), cert. denied, 2016 WL 1059941 (Apr. 25, 2016).
Plaintiff relies on the Federal Circuit's recent decision in Enfish for the proposition that
claims which "improve the functioning of a computer itself' are patent eligible. (D.I. 29 at 15;
D.I. 42). Contrary to Plaintiff's argument, however, the question of whether a given claim
"improve[s] the way a computer [works]" is not, by itself, determinative. See Enfish, 2016 WL
2756255, at *8; see also TL! Commc 'ns, 2016 WL 2865693, at *3 (describing Enfish's
dichotomy as "a relevant inquiry"). Although the Federal Circuit held "it relevant to ask whether
the claims [in Enfish were] directed to an improvement to computer functionality versus being
directed to an abstract idea," the court described the central question as "whether the focus of the
claims is on the specific asserted improvement in computer capabilities (i.e., the self-referential
table for a computer database) or, instead, on a process that qualifies as an 'abstract idea' for .
which computers are invoked merely as a tool." Erifish, 2016 WL 2756255, at *4-5. 1 The
Federal Circuit did not fault the district court for failing to appreciate the extent to which the
patent improved a computer's functioning, but rather, for "describ[ing] the claims at [too] high a
level of abstraction, ... untethered from the language of the claims." Id. at *6. In so doing, the
district court abstracted away "the claimed advance over the prior art." See id. at *4 (quoting
Genetic Techs., Ltd. v. Merial L.L.C., 2016 WL 1393573, at *5 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 8, 2016)). En.fish
is thus best understood as a case which cautions against oversimplification during step one of
Mayo/Alice, rather than a case which exempts from§ 101 scrutiny all patents which purport to
improve the functioning of a computer. See TL! Commc 'ns, 2016 WL 2865693, at *5
(acknowledging Bi/ski's "rejection of 'categorical rules' to decide subject matter eligibility"
(quoting Bilski, 561 U.S. at 610)).
In Erifish, the court noted that "the claims [at issue were] not simply directed to any form
of storing tabular data, but instead [were] specifically directed to a self-referential table for a
computer database." Id. at *6 (emphasis in original). The claims described "a specific type of
data structure designed to improve the way a computer stores and retrieves data in memory." Id.
at *8. The claims were thus "directed to a specific implementation of a solution to a problem in
the software arts." Id. The Federal Circuit concluded that "the district court oversimplified the
This distinction is particularly relevant to software-implemented inventions, like those found in Enfish.
There, the court concluded that "claims directed to software" were not "inherently abstract." Id. at *4.
Specifically, when software-implemented "claims are directed to an improvement to computer
functionality," they may not "succumb to the abstract idea exception," whereas software implementations
of "'abstract idea[s]' for which computers are invoked merely as a tool" might. Id. at *4-5.
self-referential component of the claims and downplayed the invention's benefits." Id. at *7. Put
another way, the "level of abstraction" employed by the court in describing the claims must be
consonant with the level of abstraction expressed in the claims themselves. Id. at *6; see also
Alice, 134 S. Ct. at 2354 ("we tread carefully in construing this exclusionary principle lest it
swallow all of patent law"); Mayo, 132 S. Ct. at 1302 ("[T]he more abstractly [a patent's] claims
are stated, the more difficult it is to determine precisely what they cover." (quoting Christina
Bohannan & Herbert Hovenkamp, Creating Without Restraint: Promoting Liberty and Rivalry in
Innovation 112 (2012))); Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Capital One Bank (USA), 792 F.3d 1363,
1367 (Fed. Cir. 2015) ("At step one of the Alice :framework, it is often useful to determine the
breadth of the claims in order to determine whether the claims extend to cover a 'fundamental ..
. practice long prevalent in our system"' (quoting Alice, 134 S. Ct. 2356)). Here, there is no
analog to the "specific type of data structure" that was found sufficiently un-abstract in En.fish.
Although the claims "touch on what is asserted to be an improvement to ... computer
capabilities," they are not "directed to a 'specific' or 'concrete' improvement in the way software
operates," but instead are "directed to ... the mere idea of' categorical data storage. Yodlee, Inc.
v. Plaid Techs., Inc., 2016 WL 2982503, at *9 (D. Del. May 23, 2016) (emphasis in original)
(quoting En.fish, 2016 WL 2756255, at *8); see also Device Enhancement LLC v. Amazon.com,
Inc., 2016 WL 2899246, at *10 (D. Del. May 17, 2016) ("it is evident that there is a specificity
requirement"). The '740 patent claims, "considered in their entirety," are directed to the concept
of categorical data storage. Internet Patents, 790 F.3d at 1346. That broad concept is an abstract
idea, despite the patent's limitation of that idea to a particular technological environment.
Plaintiff insists that "there are issues of claim construction that must be decided before
resolving the motion," specifically citing the "programmable operational characteristic" term.
(D.I. 29 at 12-13). Plaintiff, however, offers neither a proposed construction, nor an explanation
of how the term's construction would impact the§ 101 analysis. (D.I. 41 at 4-6). Without
providing a proposed construction-which the Court would accept as true for purposes of this
motion-Plaintiff's protestations about claim construction are unavailing. See Content
Extraction, 776 F .3d at 1349 ("Although the determination of patent eligibility requires a full
understanding of the basic character of the claimed subject matter, claim construction is not an
inviolable prerequisite to a validity determination under§ 101.").
Plaintiff also argues that Defendant must provide "clear and convincing" evidence of
invalidity, and therefore resolution of this motion requires further factual development. (D.I. 29
at 9-10 (citing Abbott Labs. v. Sandoz, Inc., 544 F.3d 1341, 1346 (Fed. Cir. 2008))). Patent
eligibility is a matter oflaw. OIP Techs., 788 F.3d at 1362. With questions oflaw, the clear and
convincing standard "has no application." Microsoft Corp. v. i4i Ltd. P'ship, 131 S. Ct. 2238,
2253 (2011) (Breyer, J., concurring). Additionally, "[w]hile there maybe cases in which the
legal question as to patentable subject matter may tum on subsidiary factual issues, [Plaintiff]
has not identified any relevant fact issues that must be resolved in order to address" patent
eligibility. In re Comiskey, 554 F.3d 967, 975 (Fed. Cir. 2009). Plaintiff's argument is therefore
Relying onDDRHoldings, LLCv. Hotels.com, L.P., 773 F.3d 1245 (Fed. Cir. 2014),
Plaintiff argues that the claims of the '740 patent are not directed to an abstract idea because "the
claimed solution [i]s clearly rooted in computer technology in order to overcome a problem
specifically arising in the realm of computer networks." Id. at 1257. Plaintiff misreads DDR
Holdings. There, the Federal Circuit stated that "identifying the precise nature of the abstract
idea [was] not as straightforward as in Alice" or other cases. Id. Therefore, the court simply
assumed that the patent-in-suit was directed to an abstract idea, and then proceeded to
Mayo/Alice step two. See id. ("[U]nder any of these characterizations of the abstract idea, the
'399 patent's claims satisfy Mayo/Alice step two."). Similarly, Plaintiff's repeated incantations
of"technology" cannot save claims directed to an abstract idea. See Bilski, 561 U.S. at 610-11
("The prohibition against patenting abstract ideas cannot be circumvented by attempting to limit
the use of [the idea] to a particular technological environment." (quotation marks omitted)); TL!
Commc'ns, 2016 WL 2865693, at *3 ("not every claim that recites concrete, tangible
components escapes the reach of the abstract-idea inquiry"); Cyberfone, 558 F. App'x at 992.
·Any "novelty in implementation of the idea is a factor be considered only in the second step of
the Alice analysis." Ultramercial, 772 F.3d at 715.
I therefore conclude that the claims are directed to the abstract idea of categorical data
B. Mayo/Alice Step Two: Inventive Concept
The determination that a patent is directed to an abstract idea "does not render the subject
matter ineligible." Internet Patents, 790 F.3d at 1346. Having decided that the patent's claims
are directed to an abstract idea, the Court must next "determine whether the claims do
significantly more than simply describe the abstract method." Ultramercial, 772 F.3d at 715.
Since "a known idea, or one that is routine and conventional, is not inventive in patent terms,"
this analysis "favors inquiries analogous to those undertaken for determination of patentable
invention,." Internet Patents, 790 F.3d at 1346. Neither "[a] simple instruction to apply an
abstract idea on a computer," nor "claiming the improved speed or efficiency inherent with
applying the abstract idea on a computer" satisfies the requirement of an "inventive concept."
Intellectual Ventures, 792 F.3d at 1367.
Defendant contends that the claims recite generic computer components, and amount to
nothing more than "apply[ing] [the abstract idea] on a computer." Id. Plaintiff argues that
claims which "improve the functioning of the computer itself' are patent eligible. (D.1. 29 at 15
(quoting Alice, 134 S. Ct. at 2359)). Plaintiff also likens the claims of the '740 patent to those at
issue in DDR Holdings, asserting that the claims of the '740 are necessarily rooted in technology.
Additionally, Plaintiff argues that "the combination of elements results in an improved computer
system, and thus the claims are patent eligible." (Id. at 20).
While the DDR Holdings court concluded that the patent at issue was "necessarily rooted
in computer technology in order to overcome a problem specifically arising in the realm of·
computer networks," it also concluded "that not all claims purporting to address Internet-centric
challenges are eligible for patent." DDR Holdings, 773 F.3d at 1257. Therefore, determining
that a patent is necessarily tied to a computer- or Internet-centric problem does not resolve the
question of patent eligibility. See Alice, 134 S. Ct. at 2358 ("limiting the use of an abstract idea
to a particular technological environment" is insufficient to confer patent eligibility (quotation
marks omitted)); Ultramercial, 772 F.3d at 1264; see also Diamond v. Diehr, 450 U.S. 175, 19193 (1981) (holding that "when a claim containing a mathematical formula implements or applies
that formula in a structure or process which, when considered as a whole .... [,]is drawn to [the
non-computer-centric] industrial process for the molding of rubber products," the claim is
directed to patent-eligible subject matter). The "rooted in computer technology'' heuristic of
DDR Holdings is best understood as a clue that when a solution "overcome[s] a problem
specifically arising in" a particular technological realm, that solution-though it may implement
an abstract idea-may likely contain an inventive concept. See DDR Holdings, 773 F.3d at
Just as DDR Holdings did not create a § 101 safe harbor for patents rooted in Intemetcentric problems, Alice did not declare eligible any patent which "purport[ s] to improve the
functioning of the computer itself." Alice, 134 S. Ct. at 2359 (citing CLS Banklnt'l v. Alice
Corp. Pty., 717 F.3d 1269, 1286 (Fed. Cir. 2013) (Lourie, J., concurring), aff'd, 134 S. Ct. 2347
(2014)). In Alice, the Supreme Court contrasted claims directed to "the concept of intermediated
settlement as performed by a generic computer" with those that may "express[ly] ... define the
computer's participation" in a way that may supply an inventive concept-i.e. by "improv[ing]
the functioning of the computer itself." Id. (quoting CLS Bank, 717 F.3d at 1286 (Lourie, J.,
concurring)). The important question is whether the patent expresses an inventive concept, not
whether it improves a computer.
The claims here are "recited too broadly and generically to be considered sufficiently
specific and meaningful applications of their underlying abstract ideas." DDR Holdings, 773
F.3d at 1256; see also Internet Patents, 790 F.3d at 1348 (finding patent ineligible where claim
"contain[ed] no restriction on how the result [was] accomplished"). While the '740 patent
describes the idea of categorical data storage as implemented on a computer, the claimed
computer functionality can only be described as generic or conventional. Claim 1 recites generic
computer components, specifically a "main memory" and a "cache" connectable via a "bus" to a
"processor." '740 patent at 6:34-38. The specification acknowledges that these components
were known in the art. Id. at 1:51-2:55. Further, the functions described, receiving and storing
data, are certainly '"well-understood, routine, conventional activit[ies]' previously known in the
industry." Alice, 134 S. Ct. at 2359 (alteration in original) (quoting Mayo, 132 S. Ct. at 1294);
see also Mortg. Grader, Inc. v. First Choice Loan Servs. Inc., 811F.3d1314, 1324-25 (Fed. Cir.
2016) ("These generic computer components do not satisfy the inventive concept requirement.").
"At most, [Plaintiffs] claims attempt to limit the abstract idea of [categorical data storage] to a
particular technology environment." Content Extraction, 776 F.3d at 1348. That is insufficient.
Alice, 134 S. Ct. at 2358. The steps here "that do nothing more than spell out what it means to
'apply [the abstract idea] on a computer' cannot confer patent-eligibility." Intellectual Ventures,
792 F.3d at 1370; see also DDR Holdings, 773 F.3d at 1257 (distinguishing claims found eligible
from those that "merely recite the performance of some business practice known from the preIntemet world along with the requirement to perform it on the Internet").
The "programmable operational characteristics" limitation fails to supply the required
inventive concept. Like the "interactive interface" element in Intellectual Ventures, the
"programmable operational characteristic" is a "generic computer element" with only "vague
and generic" descriptions. Intellectual Ventures, 792 F.3d at 1370. Like the "interactive
interface" that "simply describe[d] a generic web server with attendant software," the
"programmable operational characteristic" is simply a generic concept which "determines a type
of data stored by [a] cache." Id. at 1370; '740 patent at 6:28-38. Without an explanation of the
"mechanism" for "how th[is] result is accomplished," it cannot supply an inventive concept.
Internet Patents, 790 F.3d at 1348.
Defendant contends that all nine claims are "substantially similar and linked to the same
abstract idea," and therefore all claims can be invalidated based on representative claim 1.
Content Extraction, 776 F.3d at 1348. I agree, but will briefly summarize why claims 2 through
9 fail to supply an inventive concept. Claim l's dependent claims simply specify that the cache
may store "only code data or "both code and non-code data" (claim 2), and that the cache may
buffer data solely from the bus master or from both the bus master and processor (claim 3). '740
patent at 6:39-51. Claim 4 merely recites additional caches. Id. at 6:52-56. Claim 5 combines
the limitations of claims 2, 3, and 4. Id. at 6:57-7:2. Independent claim 6 provides that the
"programmable operational characteristic" may be used to "determine a type of data store in ..
. main memory," rather than the cache. Id. at 7:3-22. It goes on to recite all the same
components as claim 1, with the addition of a generic "register." Id. Aside from these
components, claim 6 recites division of the main memory into pages, a technique which the
specification acknowledges is "well known." Id. _at 7:9-18; 4:46-47. Claim 7, like claim 2,
describes code and non-code data restrictions. Id.at 7:23-26. Claim 8 and claim 9 simply
combine the limitations of the other claims. None of these conventional components, used in a
conventional fashion, suffice to supply an inventive concept. Also, claims that simply narrow
the types of data covered by the claims similarly fail to add an inventive concept. See, e.g.,
Bilski, 561 U.S. at 612 ("limiting an abstract idea to one field of use ... d[oes] not make the
concept patentable"); Dealertrack, Inc. v. Huber, 674 F.3d 1315, 1334 (Fed. Cir. 2012)
("Although directed to a particular use [of car loan applications], [the patent] nonetheless covers
a broad idea.").
I conclude that the claims of the '740 patent are directed to an abstract idea and lack an
inventive concept. The '740 patent is therefore invalid. Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted.
For the reasons set forth above, the motion to dismiss is GRANTED. An appropriate
order will be entered.
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