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Jedi Technologies, Inc. v. Spark Networks, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

August 3, 2017

JEDI TECHNOLOGIES, INC., an Arizona corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
SPARK NETWORKS, INC., a Delaware corporation, SPARK NETWORKS USA, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, and SMOOCH LABS, INC., a Delaware corporation Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On November 15, .2016, Jedi Technologies, Inc. ("Jedi") initiated a patent infringement . lawsuit against Spark Networks, Inc., Spark Networks USA, LLC, and Smooth Labs, Inc. (collectively, "Spark"). Jedi alleges that Spark infringes U.S. Patent Nos. 7, 885, 977 (the '"977 patent"), 8, 417, 729 (the '"729 patent"), 8, 930, 406 (the '"406 patent"), and 9, 432, 315 (the '"315 patent") (collectively, the "patents-in-suit"). (D.I. 1.) Presently before the court is Spark's motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Spark asserts that the Jedi patents claim ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101, and that it is entitled to attorney's fees. For the reasons discussed below, the court will grant the motion to dismiss, but deny the request for attorney's fees.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. The'977 Patent

         The '977 patent-entitled "System and Method for the Automated Notification of Compatibility between Real-Time Network Participants"-describes a method and system for a server to automatically notify chatters if another chatter is compatible (as determined by submitted or publicly available information). '977 patent, Abstract. The '977 patent recites six claims, with two independent claims. Claim 1 recites:

A method for automatically prompting compatible users of a network of their compatibility with at least another user, comprising:
collecting user specific data and preferences for a plurality of network users, including presenting to the users at least one on-line survey comprising a plurality of questions and detecting and recording the users' responses to the questions, wherein collecting user specific data includes accessing pre-existing data associated with a user, where the pre-existing data is available prior to initiation of collecting data for the user;
storing, in memory, at least a portion of the user specific data collected, including creating at least one data table within a database that includes data for a plurality of users, and within said table storing at least one record containing information indicative of the user's responses to the questions; using compatibility criteria that includes at least one characteristic and a threshold, processing the stored user specific data to determine interpersonal compatibility between at least two network users, wherein processing includes applying the compatibility criteria to a plurality of records containing information indicative of the user responses in the data table to determine the interpersonal compatibility of the users;
sorting said user specific data, from a plurality of network users, by interpersonal compatibility; and
automatically prompting at least a portion of network users determined to have interpersonal compatibility and thereby indicating interpersonal compatibility between the users.

Id., col. 1511. 29-col. 1611. 11.

         Claim 4 recites:

A method for determining compatibility of at least two participants of a network based upon predetermined criteria and notifying the compatible participants, comprising:
collecting human participant-specific data for a plurality of the participants, wherein collecting human participant specific data includes accessing pre-existing data associated with a participant, where the pre-existing data is available prior to initiation of collecting data for the participant;
storing, in memory, the human participant-specific data collected, including participant-specified preferences;
sorting said human participant-specific data from a plurality of participants by participant-specified preferences;
processing the stored human participant specific data,
using at least the compatibility criteria and stored participant-specified preferences, to calculate interpersonal compatibility between at least two participants;
automatically determining the compatibility of at least two participants using the calculated interpersonal compatibility, including assessing whether the participants are available to meet in person, wherein the step of assessing whether the participants are available to meet in person includes monitoring the positions of the participants to determine whether the positions are in proximity to one another; and
notifying compatible participants of their compatibility, including sending each compatible participant a message.

Id., col. 1611. 16-43.

         The remaining four claims specify that the data used for the independent claims can also be from "data [that] is publicly available, " and the "data [can be] exchanged with another database." Id., col. 1611. 1215, 44-47.

         B. The'729 Patent

         The '729 patent-also entitled "System and Method for the Automated Notification of Compatibility between Real-Time Network Participants"-builds on the '977 patent by notifying users when a compatible chatter enters a predetermined area. '729 patent, col. 15 11. 34-57. The '729 patent recites thirty-two claims, with five independent claims. Claim 1 recites:

A method for determining compatibility of at least two participants of a network based upon predetermined criteria and notifying the compatible participants, comprising:
collecting human participant-specific data for a plurality of the participants;
storing, in memory, the human participant-specific data collected;
sorting said human participant-specific data from a plurality of participants by compatibility criteria, said compatibility criteria including at least one pre-designated location;
processing the stored human participant specific data, using the compatibility criteria to calculate interpersonal compatibility between at least two participants;
automatically determining the compatibility of at least two participants using the calculated interpersonal compatibility, including monitoring the positions of the participants to determine whether at least one participant is at the at least one pre-designated location, wherein at least one participant is further determined to be a family member based solely upon the at least one pre-designated location, and where the system records the location, and further including notifying the participant when other family members are located at the at least one pre-designated location; and
notifying at least one compatible participant of the compatibility.

Id., col. 15 11. 31-57.

         Claim 26 recites:

A method for the automated display of human participant specific data to a human participant of a real-time network, comprising:
collecting human participant specific data for a plurality of network participants, wherein said step of collecting human participant-specific data includes presenting to the human participant an on-line survey comprising a plurality of questions; and detecting ...

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