Archive for January, 2016

PTAB refuses attempt to kill ATM patent as claiming abstract idea: NRT Technology Corp. and NRT Technologies, Inc., Petitioner, v. Everi Payments, Inc., Patent Owner, CBM2015-00167

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

In what appears to be a small measure of good news (and hope for the future) for patent holders in the automated teller machine art, the PTAB last week held that claims to an ATM-implemented money dispensing process were not clearly invalid under Section 101 for claiming an abstract idea.   The case, NRT Technology Corp. and NRT Technologies, Inc., Petitioner, v. Everi Payments, Inc., Patent Owner, CBM2015-00167 , refused to find the following claim 1 of US ‘782, invalid in view of Alice:

1. A method of providing money or an item of value to an account-holder, the method comprising:

identifying an account to a terminal;

entering a personal identification number into the terminal;

requesting money or an item of value based upon the account via a first type of transaction;

forwarding the first type of transaction to a processor;

forwarding the first type of transaction from the processor to a first network;

forwarding the first type of transaction from the first network to a bank;

making a denial of the first type of transaction due to exceeded pre-set limit;

forwarding the denial to the processor;

notifying the account-holder at the terminal of the denial of the first type of transaction, and asking the account holder if they would like to request the money or item of value via a second type of transaction;

requesting money or an item of value based upon the account via a second type of transaction;

forwarding the second type of transaction to the processor;

forwarding the second type of transaction from the processor to a second network;

forwarding the second type of transaction from the second network to the bank;

making an approval of the second type of transaction;

forwarding the approval to the processor;

and instructing a money location separate from the terminal to provide money or an item of value to the accountholder.

In its holding, the PTAB stated:

“As Patent Owner points out, Petitioner has oversimplified the challenged claims. Prelim. Resp. 31. The challenged claims are not directed simply to the idea of providing money to an account holder or using trial- and-error until success is achieved. Rather, the claims are directed to particular methods of providing money to an account holder using an ATM via a POS transaction after an ATM transaction has failed. See Alice, 134 S. Ct. at 2354 (“Applications of such concepts to a new and useful end . . . remain eligible for patent protection.”) (internal quotation marks and brackets omitted). Further, Petitioner’s analysis omits any consideration of the elements of the claims as ordered combinations to determine whether the additional elements transform the nature of the claims into a patent-eligible application.  It was Petitioner’s burden to do so.”

Perhaps this is a harbinger of the use of a more balanced and logical use of the abstract idea exception to 101 eligibility, with the PTAB giving “ordered combinations” of elements some credence to differentiate abstract ideas from patentatable applications of those ideas.