June 14, 2019

Monte Falcoff and Jeanette Berberich Interviewed by Bloomberg Law over Spotify Patent Suit

Detroit patent attorneys Monte Falcoff and Jeanette Berberich spoke to a reporter at Bloomberg Law about a patent infringement suit brought by Italian technology company Sisvel against Spotify USA and Rhapsody International.

The plaintiff sued the defendants over a patent directed to automatically generated metadata associated with visual image content evaluation, among other patents, in a lawsuit pending in the U.S. District Court for Delaware.

Defendants argued that the patent was invalid because it covered the abstract idea of “generating metadata for content.” Sisvel fired back that their improvement included several unconventional elements that should be considered, but the judge ultimately found the argument unconvincing after the patent failed to pass the two-step Alice test.

Falcoff views the case as a reminder that patent owners “may win the battle of obtaining a granted patent from the USPTO, but they could lose the war in the courts if they do not craft their claims for the differing views of Section 101.”

Falcoff also noted that the patentee did not help itself by having system and software independent claims that were essentially the same as the method claims. Furthermore, Falcoff pointed out that “the judge was correct in finding that these claims were not directed or limited to improving computer technology, since metadata in its broadest definition is simply ‘data about data’ which has been historically applied to old school card catalogs in places like libraries.”

Berberich added that, “while the new USPTO 101 guidance is proving helpful to obtain allowances, the Courts have made clear that their interpretation of an abstract idea remains unchanged.” Berberich also highlighted that the Court struggled with the first step of the Alice test, noting that it was a close call whether the claims are directed to “generating metadata for content” or a more specific way of “generating metadata for content,” which suggests the continued difficulty Courts are having with classifying abstract ideas.

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