Uniloc Patents Ruled Abstract

Uniloc USA, Inc. v. Big Fish Games, Inc.
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Filed: September 13, 2019
Case No. 18-02186

The Federal Circuit has held that the two Uniloc patents asserted against Big Fish Games were invalid as being directed to patent-ineligible subject matter, affirming the lower court ruling to dismiss the Uniloc infringement suit.  Absent further appeal, it thus appears that Big Fish Games has won the patent infringement suit brought against it by Uniloc USA.

Uniloc acquired two patents from IBM Corp. in 2017: US Patent No. 6,564,229 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,110,228. These patents generally relate to data processing technology used to replicate data and interact with customers at remote locations. After acquisition of the patents, Uniloc sued Big Fish Games, asserting that their games infringed the patents.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington dismissed Uniloc’s complaint on the grounds that neither patent recited patent-eligible subject matter. For instance, the Court stated that the ‘228 patent merely involved a computer carrying out a regular business practice, citing Alice v. CLS Bank.

At the same time as the initial suit was filed against Big Fish Games, Uniloc also sued video game developers Riot Games and Square Enix Inc. Both of those cases were stayed pending Uniloc’s appeal to the Federal Circuit in its case against Big Fish.

Given that Uniloc’s case has been dismissed twice, this may be the end of the litigation between Uniloc and Big Fish.  That said, this case is yet another excellent example of how 35 U.S.C. § 101 and Alice play a large part in the success and failure of video game patent-related law suits.

We will continue to provide updates to this case as new information becomes available.

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