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Blackbird Tech LLC v. Niantic, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

October 31, 2018

BLACKBIRD TECH LLC d/b/a BLACKBIRD TECHNOLOGIES, Plaintiff,
v.
NIANTIC, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

         Presently before the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), on the basis that the asserted patent claims are invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101. (D.I. 15). I have reviewed the parties' briefing. (D.I. 16, 18, 19).

         I. BACKGROUND

         On December 15, 2017, Plaintiff brought this action against Defendant alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 9, 802, 127 ("the '127 patent"). (D.I. 1). On March 3, 2018, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiffs original complaint on the basis that the asserted patent claims are invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101. (D.I. 9). However, the motion was terminated as moot when Plaintiff filed its first amended complaint. (D.I. 13, 14). On April 6, 2018, Defendant filed the present motion to dismiss the first amended complaint. (D.I. 15).

         Claim 1 of the '127 patent recites:

         1. A computer-implemented method comprising:

receiving a first position indicator representing a first current physical location for a user of a video game, wherein said first position indicator is determined at least in part by taking a global navigation satellite system reading of said first current physical location;
obtaining image data relating to said first current physical location, said image data comprising two or more camera images of said first current physical location;
mapping said image data into a virtual environment of said video game by displaying said image data as a video, wherein said user experiences within said virtual environment real life objects from said first current physical location, and said user simultaneously encounters within said virtual environment virtual objects that are not physically present in said first current physical location;
receiving a second position indicator representing a second current physical location for said user as said user navigates a geographic area surrounding said first current physical location;
saving at least said second position indicator to a memory; and
storing at least said second position indicator in said memory when said video game is not executing.

'127 patent, claim l.[1]

II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Section 101 of the Patent Act defines patent-eligible subject matter. It provides: "Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title." 35 U.S.C. § 101. The Supreme Court has recognized an implicit exception for three categories of subject matter not eligible for patentability-laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas. Alice Corp. Pty. v. CLS Bank lnt'l134 S.Ct. 2347, 2354 (2014). The purpose of these carve outs is to protect the "basic tools of scientific and technological work." Mayo Collaborative Servs. v. Prometheus Labs., Inc., 132 S.Ct. 1289, 1293 (2012). "[A] process is not unpatentable simply because it contains a law of nature or a mathematical algorithm," as "an application of a law of nature or mathematical formula to a known structure or process may well be deserving of patent protection." Id. at 1293-94 (internal quotation marks and emphasis ...


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