Patent Riffs and Links – Automated Tracking Solutions v. Coca Cola (Nonprecedential)

Automated Tracking Solutions v. Coca Cola (nonprecedential)


Key quotes:

Patent eligibility under § 101 is a question of law that may contain underlying issues of fact. See Berkheimer v. HP Inc., No. 2017-1437, 2018 WL 774096, at *5 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 8, 2018) (citing Mortg. Grader, Inc. v. First Choice Loan Servs. Inc., 811 F.3d 1314, 1325 (Fed. Cir. 2016)). We review the district court’s ultimate conclusion on patent eligibility de novo. See Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Capital One Fin. Corp., 850 F.3d 1332, 1338 (Fed. Cir. 2017).

The Alice step-one analysis requires us to consider the claims “in their entirety to ascertain whether their char- acter as a whole is directed to excluded subject matter.” Internet Patents Corp. v. Active Network, Inc., 790 F.3d 1343, 1346 (Fed. Cir. 2015).

We have held that “wheth- er a claim element or combination of elements is well- understood, routine and conventional to a skilled artisan in the relevant field is a question of fact.” Berkheimer, 2018 WL 774096, at *5. Furthermore, we must accept all plausible factual allegations in ATS’s complaint as true. See FairWarning IP, LLC v. Iatric Sys., Inc., 839 F.3d 1089, 1097 (Fed. Cir. 2016). But the complaint alleges nothing to support ATS’s contention that RFID was a developing technology. See generally Am. Compl. Nor does the complaint allege that any of the hardware com- ponents in the representative claims—either alone or in combination as a system—are anything but well- understood, routine, and conventional. See id.

Eligibility: A Factual Dispute Requires Alleged Facts | PATENTLYO
A recent line of cases… “The recent non-precedential opinion of Automated Tracking Solutions v. Coca Cola provides something of a backstop to AATRIX and Berkheimer. The ATS panel includes Judges Moore and Stoll – the two leading judges pushing for more formality in considering factual conclusions underlying an eligibility decision. In ATS, however, the panel affirmed a district court judgment on the pleadings that the asserted patent lacks eligibility. The panel restated its prior conclusions that ‘patent eligibility under § 101 is a question of law that may contain underlying issues of fact. However, in this case the court found no material facts in dispute.”

Does Aatrix Software Provide Software Patent Owners Shelter From The ‘Alice Storm? Blog Global Business IP and Technology Blog | LEXOLOGY
Moore… “Nevertheless, for now at least, the new framework signaled by Judge Moore’s opinions will permit patent owners to stave off eligibility rulings at the pleading stage by well-pled allegations in the complaint. On the other hand, the failure to preemptively plead facts that support patent eligibility may still be a problem for patent owners. This view appears to be confirmed by another Judge Moore-led panel decision issued on February 16, 2018 (Automated Tracking Solutions, LLC v. The Coca-Cola Co.), No. 2017-1494, in which the panel affirmed an ineligibility finding made by the Northern District of Georgia under Rule 12(c) because the complaint failed to allege that ‘any of the hardware components in the representative claims —either alone or in combination as a system—are anything but well understood, routine, and conventional.”

Coca-Cola Knocks Out Soda Dispenser Patent Suit | BNA
“Automated Tracking, a patent licensing company, sued Coca-Cola in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in 2015, claiming infringement of four of its patents by some of the beverage maker’s soda dispensers…Shortly after, Coca-Cola succeeded in moving the lawsuit to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. It then filed a motion for early dismissal of Automatic Tracking’s patent infringement complaint before trial…The Federal Circuit’s nonprecedential decision upheld the district court’s dismissal of the lawsuit in the dispute’s early stages. However, in a couple of precedential rulings earlier this month, it may have signaled a shift that would make it harder to knock out patents early in a case, especially when eligibility questions involve factual issues that can’t be resolved until later.”