Beteiro, LLC v. Draftkings Inc., Appeal Nos. 2022-2275, -2277, -2278, -2279, -2281, 2283 (Fed. Cir. June 21, 2024)

In its only precedential patent opinion this week, the Federal Circuit affirmed the Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal of multiple infringement cases brought by appellant Beteiro on grounds that its remote gambling patents were directed to patent-ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The Court’s opinion collected authority on “several features that are well-settled indicators of abstractness,” and rejected Beteiro’s attempts at “creative pleading” to raise a fact dispute as to patent eligibility.

Beteiro asserted four patents against multiple online gaming companies, with claims generally directed to the use of computers and GPS devices to determine whether a remote gambler’s bet is placed from a jurisdiction where such activity is lawful. At step one of the Alice/Mayo test for patent eligibility, the Federal Circuit readily agreed with the district court that the claims were “directed to the abstract idea of ‘exchanging information concerning a bet and allowing or disallowing the bet based on where the user is located.’” The Court collected precedent on several factors in support of its conclusion, including that the claims recited generic steps such as detecting and processing information; were similar to the kinds of claims it had previously found patent-ineligible; and could readily be analogized to conventional, non-computerized processes. The Court also noted the claims’ “result-focused functional language” containing “no specificity about how the purported invention achieves those results,” and observed that “[c]laims of this nature are almost always found to be ineligible for patenting under Section 101.”

At Alice/Mayo step two, the Court rejected Beteiro’s argument that it had raised a fact dispute as to whether the claims provided an inventive concept. Before the district court, Beteiro had focused on the fact that use of GPS in personal communications devices was uncommon as of the patents’ 2002 priority date, and argued that the patents thus claimed a concrete technological improvement in the art. However, the Federal Circuit found that the brief and conclusory treatment of this subject matter in the patents’ specification—in which the inventors provided no detail on any specific solution for mobile GPS applications or otherwise purported to improve such technology—“greatly undermines the plausibility of Beteiro’s allegations.” The Court cited precedent that allegations “wholly divorced from the claims or the specification cannot defeat a motion to dismiss,” and that because the specification itself indicated such technology was well understood, “no amount of creative pleading could have succeeded in transforming the claims into patent-eligible subject matter.”

Accordingly, the Federal Circuit affirmed dismissal of the complaints.

The opinion can be found here.

By Jason A. Wrubleski

This article summarizes aspects of the law and does not constitute legal advice. For legal advice for your situation, you should contact an attorney.

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