2013年7月9日 星期二

可專利性的議題(DDR Holdings, LLC v. Hotels.com, L.P., 2013 WL 3187161 (E.D.Tex. 2013))

先參考部落格文章,這兩篇涉及美國專利局審查對於101的判斷與法院的差異可能產生專利權不穩定的問題:
101條可專利的想法:
http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2012/08/blog-post_6.html
CAFC判決:CLS Bank v. Alice Corp.:
http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2013/05/cafccls-bank-v-alice-corp.html

前陣子CAFC對於CLS Bank案例的態度可能會影響101可專利性的判斷,特別是商業方法的可專利性,DDR Holdings, LLC v. Hotels.com, L.P., 2013案例就是一個例子,地方法院陪審團與法院見解差不多,第一是確認商業方法的可專利性,第二是確認侵權,可專利性的判斷仍是有關於專利範圍是否有形式上必要地連結到硬體特徵

涉及專利有效性的專利為US7,818,399US6,993,572,US7,818,399揭露一種透過協調其他市場銷售的方式提供給網站擴張商業機會的方法,US6,993,572揭露一種與其他業者網頁合作的網路商業系統:

其中399案的Claim 1界定一個外部資源(第三方業者)透過網頁提供商機的方法,這儼然就像是Pchome, Yahoo等業者提供的線上購物平台的技術,專利界定的步驟十分"軟體",包括根據使用者使用網頁瀏覽器產生的指令回應網頁,網頁為多個業者之一,提供多種商品選擇,根據選擇的商品,對應的業者將透過網頁回應;之後網頁將自對應外部資源取得資料,並產生回應給使用者的網頁內容,包括相關商品的資訊、連結,以及由取得資料所衍生的其他資料。
1. A method of an outsource provider serving web pages offering commercial opportunities, the method comprising:
(a) automatically at a server of the outsource provider, in response to activation, by a web browser of a computer user, of a link displayed by one of a plurality of first web pages, recognizing as the source page the one of the first web pages on which the link has been activated;
(i) wherein each of the first web pages belongs to one of a plurality of web page owners;
(ii) wherein each of the first web pages displays at least one active link associated with a commerce object associated with a buying opportunity of a selected one of a plurality of merchants; and
(iii) wherein the selected merchant, the outsource provider, and the owner of the first web page are each third parties with respect to one other;
(b) automatically retrieving from a storage coupled to the server pre-stored data associated with the source page; and then
(c) automatically with the server computer-generating and transmitting to the web browser a second web page that includes:
(i) information associated with the commerce object associated with the link that has been activated, and
(ii) a plurality of visually perceptible elements derived from the retrieved pre-stored data and visually corresponding to the source page.

572案的Claim 1界定一種利用外部資源的電子商務方法,步驟包括取得相關網頁內容,提供網頁連結給使用者,根據使用者操作啟始外部資源網頁,以提供外部業者的商務服務。
1. An e-commerce outsourcing process comprising:
a) capturing a look and feel description associated with a host website and storing HTML code corresponding to the look and feel description at a second website;
b) providing the host website with a link for inclusion within a page on the host website for serving to a visitor computer, wherein the provided link correlates the host website with a selected commerce object; and
c) upon receiving an activation of the provided link from the visitor computer, serving to the visitor computer from the second website page with a look and feel corresponding to the captured look and feel description of the host website associated with the provided link and with content based on the commerce object associated with the provided link;
whereby the visitor receiving the served page at the visitor computer perceives the page as associated with the host website even though it is served from the second website.
關鍵的Claim 17也列一下,相關流程包括第一網站與第二網站的資料連結,以及相關網頁的外觀(look and feel),網頁連結關聯在商務物件,將使用者連結啟動後,顯示第一網站的內容以及相關連結。
17. An e-commerce outsourcing process comprising the steps of:
a) storing a look and feel description associated with a first website in a data store associated with a second website;
b) including within a web page of the first website, which web page has a look and feel substantially corresponding to the stored look and feel description, a link correlating the web page with a commerce object; and
c) upon receiving an activation of the link from a visitor computer to which the web page has been served, sewing to the visitor computer from the second website a composite web page having a look and feel corresponding to the stored look and feel description of the first website and having content based on the commerce object associated with the link.
以上兩件專利公告日都約略在過去10年,申請日分別在2006年與2003年,很難想像這樣的專利可被獲准,我想關聯到外部資網站的資料是個關鍵,包括look and feel,顯然在提出侵權訴訟時其專利性將被質疑,特別是挑戰美國專利法第101條的可專利的標的。

有些有關可專利性的論點可以作為參考:
專利關係到電腦網路的應用,大家都有共識;其中是否連結到particular machine也是判斷重點,專利範圍都有涉及儲存的資料,有使用者電腦與伺服器等描述,包括提供的網頁描述等,都算是tied to machine。因此專利性現階段算是仍被確立,目前案件將進入CAFC。


值得一提的是"idea" 這個字:
這件過程中,如Patently-O所摘錄的內容,當發明人在法院陳述(證詞)發明時,提到他的想法(idea)是...,這樣的論述可能導致專利範圍被解釋為僅為idea的抽象概念(abstract),還好法官算是理性而不跟大家玩"文字遊戲" ,並不採用發明人用的"idea"。另外也順便提到一些可能會不當過廣解釋專利範圍的用語,發明應該是某種程度的實現、使用、反映出、基於或使用自然律、自然現象(at some level embody, use, reflect, rest upon, or apply laws of nature, natural phenomena, or abstract ideas(更正:07.11.2013),不應過廣解釋專利範圍,還好法院不會因此被影響,不過發明人上法院確實還是要"教育一下"比較好。

以下是法官Mayo對此段的論點:
The Court is also not persuaded that the inventor's use of the word "idea" at least 25 times to describe his invention is evidence of unpatentable subject matter. The inventor's testimony was given during a one week trial, and it is not unusual to explain a patent claim as a "gist" or "core idea." Such testimony is not instructive that a claim is an abstract idea for purposes of § 101 patentability. Moreover, "all inventions at some level embody, use, reflect, rest upon, or apply laws of nature, natural phenomena, or abstract ideas," yet, "too broad an interpretation of this exclusionary principle could eviscerate patent law." Mayo.

Ron
資料來源:Patently-O

2 則留言:

陳小瑜 提到...

您好,我想請問 use, reflect, rest upon, or apply laws of nature, natural phenomena, or abstract ideas 這些用語為何會不當過廣解釋專利範圍呢?謝謝^^

EN & Jane's murmur 提到...

你好,我改了一下,有些錯誤的描述。
感謝指教
Ron