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DiStefano Patent Trust III, LLC v. Linkedin Corp.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

September 28, 2018

DISTEFANO PATENT TRUST III, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
LINKEDIN CORPORATION, Defendant.

          Timothy Devlin, DEVLIN LAW FIRM LLC, Wilmington, DE Attorney for Plaintiff DiStefano Patent Trust III, LLC

          Jack B. Blumenfeld, MORRIS, NICHOLS, ARSHT & TUNNELL LLP, Wilmington, DE Robert T. Cruzen, Sarah E. Jelsema, Andrew M. Mason, Todd M. Siegel, KLARQUIST SPARKMAN LLP, Portland, OR Attorneys for Defendant Linkedln Corporation

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          STARK, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff DiStefano Patent Trust III, LLC ("Plaintiff or "DiStefano") asserts that Defendant Linkedln Corporation ("Defendant" or "Linkedln") infringes DiStefano's U.S. Patent No. 8, 768, 760 (the '"760 patent"), entitled "Reciprocal Linking Arrangement between Web Pages." (D.I. 11 at 2-3) Linkedln has filed a motion to dismiss, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), on the grounds that the '760 patent fails to claim patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. (D.I. 12) The parties submitted briefing (D.I. 13, 16, 18) and the Court heard oral argument on July 31, 2018 (see D.I. 25) ("Tr."). For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant Linkedln's motion to dismiss.

         I. BACKGROUND

         There '760 patent relates to "developing web pages through the use of a graphical user interface." '760 Pat. at 1:25-26. Specifically, the patent describes a method of creating a reciprocal arrangement between two websites in order to market the first website at the second website. See Id. at 3:12-28.

         DiStefano contends Linkedln infringes claims 1, 4, 5, 8, and 10 of the '760 patent. (D.I. 11 at 4)[1] Independent claim 1 recites:

         1. A method, within and by a computer hardware system that is configured to serve a first web page associated with a first user and a second web page associated with a second user, comprising:

receiving, from a first computer associated with the first user, a first indication to opt into a reciprocal linking arrangement;
receiving, from a second computer associated with the second user, a second indication to opt into the reciprocal linking arrangement;
establishing, within a database associated with the computer hardware system, the reciprocal linking arrangement based upon both the first and second users opting to participate in the reciprocal linking arrangement;
including, within the second web page and based upon the reciprocal linking arrangement, a second functional identification element associated with the first entity; and
including, within the first web page and based upon the reciprocal linking arrangement, a first functional identification element associated with the second entity, wherein
the second functional identification element includes a link to the first web page, and the first functional identification element includes a link to the second web page.

         The remaining asserted claims all depend from claim 1. During oral argument, the parties agreed that claim 1 is representative. (See Tr. at 4 ("[C]laim 1 is representative."), 50 ("[T]his case could rise or fall on claim 1 as to the asserted claims."))[2]

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A. Rule 12(b)(6) ...


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