by Dennis Crouch
I’ve change into considerably callous towards patent eligibility jurisprudence and so was shocked once I learn the Federal Circuit’s choice 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 completely different sub-portions was not an summary concept. Now, the accused infringer has requested the Supreme Courtroom for overview.
ADASA’s US Patent 9,798,967 is directed towards an RFID chip “encoded with a singular object quantity.” This object quantity as numerous blocks pre-allocated to determine the selling-company, product reference, and serial quantity as proven beneath. The serial quantity has a singular function of being divided into a piece of “most vital bits” (MSBs) and “least vital bits” (LSBs). This division between MSBs and LSBs assist in the allocation of distinctive serial numbers in a distributed manufacturing system. The essential strategy:
- A product-line might be completely allotted a selected MSB and all attainable accompanying LSBs. It can then allow RFID chips utilizing the allotted MSB after which sequentially incrementing the LSB.
- A separate product line may also be concurrently enabling different different chips. To make sure no overlap in serial numbers, the second-line might be allotted a unique MSB.
- The consequence then is that we are able to assure that every chip has a singular 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 beneath). In its petition, the adjudged infringer depends closely on the outdated circumstances of Benson and Flook to argue that the setup right here lacks eligibility.
Radio Frequency Identification System (RFID) tags are encoded with prolonged serial numbers that uniquely determine specific objects. The patent at concern on this case designates the main bits in a binary serial quantity as “essentially the most vital bits,” and directs that each one serial numbers in an allotted block start with the identical “most vital bits.”
The query offered is whether or not that declare, by subdividing a serial quantity into “most vital bits” which can be assigned such that they continue to be equivalent throughout RFID tags, constitutes patent-eligible subject material underneath 35 U.S.C. § 101.
Chief Choose Moore wrote the opinion and concluded that the claims weren’t directed to an summary concept however somewhat offers a novel knowledge construction inside a serial quantity. Right here, the concept is that the patentee was capable of create a brand new knowledge discipline that was “not a mere psychological course of, however a hardware-based knowledge construction targeted on enhancements to the technological course of by which that knowledge is encoded;” and an enchancment with “essential technological penalties.”
An fascinating function is that the final concept offered by the patentee was already recognized and mentioned within the guide 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 robust rhetorical enchantment — ought to all the things in that guide title be thought of an summary concept? The petitioner writes:
“[A]bstract concepts should not patentable.” … It’s exhausting to think about a extra blatant transgression of that rule than the declare on this case, which sought a patent monopoly over the easy idea of treating one lengthy serial quantity as the mix 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 completely different from a route to mentally subdivide all phone numbers into two part components 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). Which may 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 Courtroom has held unpatentable for greater than 150 years.
Id. I’m assured that if the Supreme Courtroom takes this case, it will even additional broaden eligibility doctrine.
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Declare 1: An RFID transponder comprising:
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 singular object quantity, the distinctive object quantity comprising an object class info house and a singular serial quantity house,
whereby the distinctive serial quantity house is encoded with one serial quantity occasion from an allotted block of serial numbers, the allotted block being assigned a restricted variety of most vital bits, and
whereby the distinctive serial quantity house contains the restricted variety of most vital bits comparable to the allotted block and remaining bits of lesser significance that collectively comprise the one serial quantity occasion.