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Alice Kills 3 MicroStrategy Data Storage Patents

Three three data storage patents owned by MicroStrategy Inc. have been ruled invalid under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice ruling for claiming only abstract ideas. This was good news for accused infringer Apttus Corp., MicroStrategy’s rival in the business intelligence software industry.

MicroStrategy alleged that Apttus’ contract management software infringed three patents covering an intelligence server system, a method of providing business intelligence Web content and a system of remotely manipulating analytic reports.

Alice held that abstract ideas implemented using a computer are not patent-eligible. U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. noted that recent high court rulings have put limits on what can be patented. As a result, patents like MicroStrategy’s, which were granted before those rulings were issued, are now doomed, since “many inventors drafted their patents for an age of patent law that no longer exists.”

“Patentees relied on a low bar when writing applications to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, but since Bilski, Mayo and Alice, the rules have changed,” he said. “Unfortunately for the patentees, this results in ineligible patents.

Judge Gibney ruled that all three patents were directed at the abstract idea of report generation and data storage and do not include any elements that transform the idea into something patent-eligible.

With regard to one of the patents, which says it refers to data warehousing, the judge wrote that “this can mean nothing else but data storage, a concept that is absolutely an abstract idea.”

He rejected MicroStrategy’s arguments and claimed that doing something on a computer does not make it patent-eligible if it would not be eligible without a computer.

“Large amounts of data existed before the use of computers and the Internet,” he wrote. “The patent describes how individuals can gather information and identify trends within that data, just as people have done for many years.

For more information, see Law360.

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