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S.I.SV.EL. Societa Italiana Per Lo Sviluppo Dell elettronica S.P.A. v. Rhapsody International Inc.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

May 30, 2019

S.I.SV.EL. SOCIETA ITALIANA PER LO SVILUPPO DELL' ELETTRONICA S.P.A, Plaintiff,
v.
RHAPSODY INTERNATIONAL INC., Defendant. S.I.SV.EL. SOCIETA ITALIANA PER LO SVILUPPO DELL' ELETTRONICA S.P.A, Plaintiff,
v.
SPOTIFYUSAINC, Defendant.

          Timothy Devlin, DEVLIN LAW FIRM LLC, Wilmington, DE, Attorney for Plaintiff.

          David 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.

          David E. Moore, Bindu A. Palapura and Stephanie E. O'Byrne, POTTER ANDERSON & CORROON LLP, Wilmington, DE; Stefani E. Shanberg and Michael J. Guo, MORRISON & FOERSTER LLP, San Francisco, CA, Attorneys for Defendant Spotify USA Inc.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

         BURKE, United States Magistrate Judge

         Presently 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 to35U.S.C.§101 ["Section 101"]" (the "Motion"), filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. (D.I. 9)[1]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"), 7, 734, 680 (the "'680 patent") and 8, 321, 456 (the '"456 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 '680 patent only.[2] For the reasons set out below, the Court DENIES Defendants' Motion as it relates to that patent.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         The '680 patent is entitled "Method and Apparatus for Realizing Personalized Information from Multiple Information Sources." (D.I. 1, ex. 3 (the '"680 patent")) The '680 patent has 18 claims in total; three are independent claims (claim 1, claim 11 and claim 16) and 15 are dependent claims. (Id., col. 10:20-12:64)

         The technology at issue in the '680 patent "relates to browsing and/or searching various information sources, and more particularly to searching and/or presenting information from multiple information sources in a personalized and organized manner." (Id., col. 1:8-11) In general, the asserted patent discloses "[a] system for a meta-browser [that] includes a receiver, an output device for displaying a virtual unified browsing space, and a selector input device for navigating the space and making selections therein." (Id., Abstract) This meta-browser "presents personalized collections of information from multiple sources of different media types" (such as broadcast programming, electronic program guide information and the Internet) as "different media collections in the unified browsing space, which can be easily and intuitively browsed." (Id.) The user's browsing experience is improved by the ability to generate personalized recommendations based on a profile of the user's interests (including through, among other things, the use of "[c]ollaborative filtering"). (Id.)

         The '680 patent explains that, at the time of the invention, users were able "to browse [via web browsers and electronic program guides] various information sources[, ] such as Web sites, television program listings, and music collections." (Id., col. 1:13-15) However, the searches were typically limited to only "one type of collection of information." (Id., col. 1:16-17) For example, a user interested in information about a particular television program could search the Web via a search engine for information about the program, but the user would typically receive only a listing of websites related to the program (and would not receive, for example, the time when the program was being shown in the user's viewing area). (Id., col. 1:17-24) Although searching tools improved, (see id., col. 1:26-29), the patent states that there still remained a need for an invention that could: (1) "improve the usefulness of searching by providing an integrated approach to specifying and searching multiple information resources[, ]" (id., col. 1:38-40); and (2) "use existing standards and a plethora of new component technologies to provide a search tool that gives the user greater access to a variety of different content types from a variety of different sources in a personalized, easy and intuitive way[, ]" (id., col. 1:42-46). The inventions claimed in the '680 patent were said to meet those needs. (Id., cols. 1:50-2:16)

         B. Procedural Background

         The 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)

         II. 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 were also set out in the March 8, 2019 MO. (Id. at 4-11)

         III. DISCUSSION

         In resolving Defendants' Motion, the Court will first discuss which claims will (and will not) be specifically addressed herein. Thereafter, it will analyze the relevant claim under both steps of the test for patent eligibility set out in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank lnt'l, 134 S.Ct. 2347 (2014).

         A. Claim at Issue

         In its Complaint, Plaintiff alleged infringement of "at least claim 16 of the '680 patent[.]" (D.I. 1 at ¶ 76) In their opening brief, Defendants addressed each of the patent's 18 claims and moved that all of these claims be found ineligible. (See D.I. 11 at 34) Plaintiff, in its answering brief, then made specific reference only to the content of independent claim 16 in explaining why all of the patent's claims were patent eligible. (D.I. 14 at 28-31) In light of this, the Court will address only claim 16 herein, understanding that Plaintiffs arguments for eligibility as to all of the patent's claims rise and fall on the arguments it made with regard to this particular claim. See Berkheimer v. ...


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