United States District Court, D. Delaware
S.I.SV.EL. SOCIETA ITALIANA PER LO SVILUPPO DELL' ELETTRONICA S.P.A, Plaintiff,
RHAPSODY INTERNATIONAL INC., Defendant. S.I.SV.EL. SOCIETA ITALIANA PER LO SVILUPPO DELL' ELETTRONICA S.P.A, Plaintiff,
SPOTIFY USA INC., Defendant.
Timothy Devlin, DEVLIN LAW FIRM LLC, Wilmington, DE, Attorney
E. Moore, Bindu A. Palapura and Stephanie E. O'Byrne,
POTTER ANDERSON & CORROON LLP, Wilmington, DE; Patrick
Bageant, HOLLYSTONE LAW, Boise, ID, Attorneys for Defendant
Rhapsody International Inc.
E. Moore, Bindu A. Palapura and Stephanie E. O'Byrne,
POTTER ANDERSON & CORROON LLP, Wilmington, DE; Stefani E.
Shanberg, MORRISON & FOERSTER LLP, San Francisco, CA,
Attorneys for Defendant Spotify USA Inc.
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the Court in this patent infringement case is
Defendant Rhapsody International Inc. ("Rhapsody")
and Defendant Spotify USA Inc.'s ("Spotify" and
collectively, "Defendants") "Early Motion for
Summary Judgment of Invalidity Pursuant to 35 U.S.C. §
101 ["Section 101"]" (the "Motion"),
filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. (D.I.
9)Defendants argue that Plaintiff S.I.SV.EL.
Societa Italiana per lo Sviluppo Dell'Elettronica
S.p.A's ("Plaintiff) asserted United States Patent
Nos. 7, 412, 202 (the '"202 patent"), 8, 490,
123 (the '"123 patent"), 7, 035, 863 (the
'"863 patent"), 8, 321, 456 (the '"456
patent"), and 7, 734, 680 (the '"680
patent") (collectively, the "asserted patents"
or the "patents-in-suit") are directed to
non-patent-eligible subject matter pursuant to Section 101.
(D.I. 11) This Memorandum Opinion will address the Motion as
it relates to the '123 patent only. For the reasons
set out below, the Court DENIES Defendants' Motion as it
relates to that patent.
'123 patent is entitled "Method and Device for
Generating a User Profile on the Basis of Playlists."
(D.I. 1, ex. 2 (the '"123 patent")) The
'123 patent has 19 claims, of which two (claim 1 and
claim 11) are independent claims. (Id., cols.
technology described in the '123 patent relates to
methods for "generating a user profile on a media device
which has obtained a set of playlists." (Id.,
col. 1:5-7) In general, the asserted patent claims "a
method and device" where "the user profile is
generated on the basis of the user's own playlists and
properties derived from them." (Id., Abstract)
A "playlist," according to the patent, "is an
ordered list of e.g. musical pieces (songs)" or other
content, such as "pictorial pieces (video)."
(Id., col. 3:4-6)
'123 patent explains that, at the time of the invention,
it was "known in the art to use user preferences, e.g.
in the form of a corresponding user profile, to recommend
content [i.e., a song or a movie] to users."
(Id., col. 1:20-23) The use of user preferences and
a user profile in this way helped "users [of, for
example, a CD player, a radio or a personal computer] to
select or recommend content of preferred taste to
them" while "reliev[ing] the user of the
time-consuming task ... of selecting appropriate media
content among a huge amount of available content [of, for
example, MP3 files.]" (Id., col. 1:23-30) The
patent explains that the previously known art obtained user
preferences in one of two ways-either it: (1) required the
users to assign a rating to the content at issue; or (2)
observed how the user used the content (e.g., when the
content was played back). (Id., col. 1:35-38)
problem with the prior art was that a single playlist could
only be used to express "partial interests" (e.g.,
one playlist might "represent interest(s) in rock
content, another ... in movie content... whereas still
another ... in soap opera TV broadcasts").
(Id., col. 1:39-44) In that way, the patent
explains, a single playlist "can be an incomplete and .
. . only partial expression for a partial user interest in a
dedicated content area[.]" (Id., co\. 1:44-48)
A need therefore arose, according to the patent, for a single
playlist that represents "broad user interests in
several and various content areas (actually preferred by its
owner and user)." (Id., col. 1:49-52)
patent lists additional problems with prior art
methods/devices in this area. For example, "the task of
observing usage of content [was] rather unreliable because a
device that plays back content does not typically register
who actually listens to and/or watches the content."
(Id., col. 1:53-56) Moreover, asking a user to
provide explicit ratings on the content that they play back
"places an additional time-consuming burden ... on the
user." (Id., col. 1:56-58) And "current
recommenders (that learn from examples)" in the market
did not "efficiently analyze playlists composed by a
user" in that they did "not analyze how the
playlists are made" and provided recommendations for
playlists in "a too simple manner, e.g. take best 10
items." (Id., col. 1:59-65)
light of all of this, the '123 patent explains that it
was "an object of the present invention" to: (1)
"provide an automated generation of a reliable user
profile, which contains information about the user's
preferences with respect to different playlist
aspects[;]" (2) "solve the [other]
above-[referenced] problems of the prior art[;]" and (3)
"determine user preferences on the basis of the user
playlist(s)." (Id., cols. 1:66-2:5)
Court hereby incorporates by reference the summary of the
procedural background of this matter, which was set out in
its March 8, 2019 Memorandum Opinion ("March 8, 2019
MO"). (D.I. 25 at 4)
STANDARD OF REVIEW The Court also incorporates by
reference the standard of review applicable to summary
judgment motions and the legal standards relating to Section
101, which ...