Eligibility for Dummies; Benson Redux

by Dennis Crouch

I’ve turn into considerably callous towards patent eligibility jurisprudence and so was shocked after I learn the Federal Circuit’s resolution in ADASA Inc. v. Avery Dennison Corp., 55 F.4th 900 (Fed. Cir. Dec 16, 2022). The case concluded that constructively dividing a fixed-length binary quantity into totally different sub-portions was not an summary thought.  Now, the accused infringer has requested the Supreme Court docket for evaluation.

ADASA’s US Patent 9,798,967 is directed towards an RFID chip “encoded with a novel object quantity.”  This object quantity as numerous blocks pre-allocated to determine the selling-company, product reference, and serial quantity as proven under.  The serial quantity has a novel function of being divided into a bit of “most important bits” (MSBs) and “least important bits” (LSBs). This division between MSBs and LSBs assist in the allocation of distinctive serial numbers in a distributed manufacturing system.  The fundamental method:

  • A product-line might be completely allotted a specific MSB and all doable accompanying LSBs. It’ll then allow RFID chips utilizing the allotted MSB after which sequentially incrementing the LSB.
  • A separate product line may additionally be concurrently enabling different different chips. To make sure no overlap in serial numbers, the second-line might be allotted a distinct MSB.
  • The outcome then is that we are able to assure that every chip has a novel serial quantity regardless of parallel manufacturing traces.

The claims don’t seem to incorporate any novel options apart from this constructed division between bits in a binary quantity.  (Declare 1, is reproduced under). In its petition, the adjudged infringer depends closely on the previous instances of Benson and Flook to argue that the setup right here lacks eligibility.

Query offered:

Radio Frequency Identification Gadget (RFID) tags are encoded with prolonged serial numbers that uniquely determine specific gadgets. The patent at subject on this case designates the main bits in a binary serial quantity as “essentially the most important bits,” and directs that each one serial numbers in an allotted block start with the identical “most important bits.”

The query offered is whether or not that declare, by subdividing a serial quantity into “most important bits” which can be assigned such that they continue to be equivalent throughout RFID tags, constitutes patent-eligible subject material beneath 35 U.S.C. § 101.

Avery Dennison Petition.

Chief Choose Moore wrote the opinion and concluded that the claims weren’t directed to an summary thought however relatively supplies a novel information construction inside a serial quantity.  Right here, the thought is that the patentee was in a position to create a brand new information area that was “not a mere psychological course of, however a hardware-based information construction targeted on enhancements to the technological course of by which that information is encoded;” and an enchancment with “essential technological penalties.”

An fascinating function is that the overall thought offered by the patentee was already recognized and mentioned within the ebook RFID for Dummies.  If Avery Dennison loses right here, then the district court docket will maintain a trial on anticipation.  Nonetheless, the “for Dummies” label has sturdy rhetorical enchantment — ought to all the pieces in that ebook title be thought of an summary thought?  The petitioner writes:

“[A]bstract concepts usually are not patentable.” … It’s arduous to think about a extra blatant transgression of that rule than the declare on this case, which sought a patent monopoly over the straightforward idea of treating one lengthy serial quantity as the mixture of two shorter numbers, after which [requiring] blocks of RFID tags all begin with the identical shorter quantity. At backside, that declare isn’t any totally different from a course to mentally subdivide all phone numbers into two element elements after which assign the identical main half to an allotted block of numbers (e.g., all phone numbers within the District of Columbia begin with 202). That could be a good suggestion (certainly, the idea in ADASA’s patent seems within the pages of RFID for Dummies), however it’s no extra patentable than the opposite good however summary concepts that this Court docket has held unpatentable for greater than 150 years.

Id.  I’m assured that if the Supreme Court docket takes this case, it might even additional increase eligibility doctrine.

= = =

Declare 1: An RFID transponder comprising:

a substrate;

an antenna construction fashioned on the substrate; and

an RFID built-in circuit chip which is electrically coupled to the antenna construction,

whereby the RFID built-in circuit chip is encoded with a novel object quantity, the distinctive object quantity comprising an object class data area and a novel serial quantity area,

whereby the distinctive serial quantity area is encoded with one serial quantity occasion from an allotted block of serial numbers, the allotted block being assigned a restricted variety of most important bits, and

whereby the distinctive serial quantity area contains the restricted variety of most important bits comparable to the allotted block and remaining bits of lesser significance that collectively comprise the one serial quantity occasion.