The Federal Circuit held that patent claims directed to storing and providing medical images over the web as “virtual views” were invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 because they involved nothing more than “converting data and using computers to collect, manipulate, and display the data,” and the amended complaint failed to plausibly allege that creating “virtual views” on the fly involved unconventional technology or a concrete application that would transform the abstract idea to significantly more.

Background

AI Visualize, Inc. sued Nuance Communications, Inc. and Mach7 Technologies, Inc. for infringement of four patents in the District of Delaware.[1] In response to a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim filed by defendants, plaintiff filed an amended complaint adding allegations of novelty and technological improvements to the patents, as well as additional factual allegations of willful infringement. Nuance and Mach7 renewed its motion to dismiss to be responsive to the amended complaint. The district court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim, finding the asserted patent claims were directed to an abstract idea and involved no inventive step. AI Visualize appealed.

Issue(s)

Whether the claims are not directed to an abstract idea because “the claims require the creation of ‘on the fly’ virtual views.”

Whether there is an inventive concept in either the creation of the virtual views itself or the “on demand”/”real-time” nature of creating the views in response to user requests.

Holding(s)

Asserted claims were held to be abstract ideas and lacking an inventive step, affirming the district court’s grant of the motion to dismiss.

Reasoning

The asserted claims are directed to “converting data and using computers to collect, manipulate, and display the data,” similar to the claims that were at issue in Hawk Tech. Sys., LLC v. Castle Retail, LLC, where the patent claims involved “viewing multiple simultaneously displayed and stored video images on a remote viewing device of a video surveillance system.” AI Visualize v. Nuance at 10-11 (quoting Hawk Tech. Sys., LLC v. Castle Retail, LLC, 60 F.4th 1352 (Fed. Cir. 2023)). 

The Federal Circuit rejected AI Visualize’s argument that the patents provide a technical solution to a technical problem, despite AI Visualize’s citing of a passage from the specification that describes how related image frames are selected. The Federal Circuit noted that the court “refuse[s] to import details from the specification if those details are themselves not claimed.” AI Visualize v. Nuance at 11-12 (citing ChargePoint, Inc. v. SemaConnect, Inc., 920 F.3d, 769 (Fed. Cir. 2019)).

There is no inventive step under Alice step 2, because the creation of virtual views is itself an abstract idea and the record shows that virtual views were known in the art. AI Visualize v. Nuance at 14. As to AI Visualize’s assertion that the “virtual views” are created “on the fly,” there was insufficient factual allegations in AI Visualize’s amended complaint to support the notion that the claims involved unconventional technology or a concrete application that would transform the abstract idea to significantly more.

FOOTNOTES

[1] AI Visualize, Inc. v. Nuance Comms., Inc., Mach7 Techs., Inc., No. 2022-2109 (April 4, 2024)