The Federal Circuit has reversed a Northern District of California invalidation of multiple mobile data sync patents under Alice, reviving the litigation campaign of inventor-controlled CellSpin Soft, Inc. The accompanying opinion applies key 2018 case law that has trimmed Alice’s reach, faulting District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers for “ignoring the principle, implicit in Berkheimer and explicit in Aatrix, that factual disputes about whether an aspect of the claims is inventive may preclude dismissal at the pleadings stage under § 101”. The appellate reversal also pulled the rug out from under the district court’s award of six-figure attorney fees to defendants Canon, Fossil, and Nike, with the Federal Circuit highlighting clear error in Judge Gonzalez Rogers’s exceptional case analysis—in part, holding for the first time that the presumption of validity extends to Section 101 eligibility, contrary to the lower court’s ruling.
A California court has invalidated the four patents asserted by inventor-controlled NPE CellSpin Soft, Inc. under Alice. Ruling on validity challenges brought by a variety of connected device and wearable manufacturers, including Canon, Fitbit, GoPro, and Panasonic, District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers held on April 3 that the patents at issue are invalid as directed to the abstract idea of “acquiring, transferring, and publishing data and multimedia content on one or more websites” while lacking a sufficient inventive concept.