Checksum Ventures, LLC v. Dell Inc., No. 18 C 6321, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Sep. 30, 2019) (Dow, J.).

Judge Dow granted defendant Dell’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss plaintiff Checksum’s patent as invalid as unpatentable pursuant to 35 U.S.C. Section 101, with leave to amend in this patent dispute regarding a checksum data identifier – used to identify whether data is identical.

Of particular note, the Court held as follows:

  • The ‘906 patent claimed abstract ideas because it did “nothing more than ‘recite generalized steps to be performed on a computer using conventional computer activity.” Citing Enfish, 822 F.3d at 1338.
  • It was not enough to require that the writer enter the data such that it can be disaggregated and read apart from the metadata.
  • The claims taught only the result of having different readers analyze the same data in different ways. The claims did not require that readers read data differently, or that they use new methods for writing data;
  • The claims were written in functional terms, only claiming the results, not how the data was read or processed.
  • The Federal Circuit had previously ruled that writing and reading different types of data in different ways are abstract ideas, absent something more.
  • Also, the ‘906 patent’s claims would potentially preempt entire fields because of their breadth.
  • Dismissal was appropriate even in light of Berkheimer and Aatrix because the ‘906 patent itself raised no factual issue as to inventiveness of the checksum computation and writing technology.
  • Court construction was not required to decide patentability because even accepting Checksum’s construction, the Court held the ‘906 patent’s claims were invalid.