Protegrity USA, Inc. et al v. Netskope, Inc.

Northern District of California, cand-4:2015-cv-02515

ORDER by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers granting {{43}} Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings; vacating Case Management Conference. Proposed form of judgment to be filed by 10/23/2015. (ygrlc4, COURT STAFF)

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3 1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 PROTEGRITY USA, INC., ET AL., 7 Case No. 15-cv-02515-YGR Plaintiffs, 8 v. ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR JUDGMENT 9 ON THE PLEADINGS NETSKOPE, INC., 10 Re: Dkt. No. 43 Defendant. 11 12 Defendant Netskope, Inc. moves for judgment on the pleadings, arguing the asserted Northern District of California United States District Court 13 claims of the patent-in-suit—which broadly cover methods for limiting access to database 14 information on a per-user basis—are invalid as embodying an unpatentable "abstract idea" under 15 Section 101 of the Patent Act. (Dkt. No. 43.) Plaintiffs Protegrity Corporation (the patent's 16 owner) and Protegrity USA, Inc. (the patent's exclusive licensee) oppose the motion. (Dkt. No. 17 47.) Having carefully considered the papers submitted, the patent-in-suit, the record in this case, 18 and the arguments of counsel at the September 22, 2015 hearing, and good cause shown, the Court 19 GRANTS the motion. 20 I. BACKGROUND 21 The plaintiffs accuse defendant of infringing U.S. Patent Number 7,305,707 (the "'707 22 Patent" or the "patent-in-suit").1 The patent is entitled "Method for Intrusion Detection in a 23 Database System." The patent addresses the problem of preventing a user who has access to a 24 particular database from exceeding the scope of a defined policy—for instance, one limiting the 25 amount of information the user is permitted to access in a given period of time—in real time. '707 26 Patent at 1:20-2:12. 27 1 28 The '707 Patent is attached to the complaint as Exhibit D. (Dkt. No. 1-4.) 3 1 According to the '707 Patent's specification, the prior art included a number of methods 2 for detecting improper or suspicious activity by an individual with authorized login credentials to 3 access a server. The methods referenced include: (1) network-based detection (e.g., "packet 4 sniff[ing] to detect suspicious behavior on a network as [it] occur[s]"), (2) server-based detection 5 (i.e., analyzing "log, configuration and data files from individual servers as attacks occur"), (3) 6 security query and reporting tools (that "do not operate in real-time"), and, critically, (4) inference 7 detection ("detection of specific patterns of information access, deemed to signify that an intrusion 8 is taking place, even though the user is authorized to access the information"). '707 Patent at 9 1:27-2:12. 10 The patent-in-suit includes twenty-two method claims, two of which are independent. 11 Generally, the patent covers methods for creating access policies for authorized users and limiting 12 their access if they exceed the terms of the applicable access policy, such as by downloading a Northern District of California United States District Court 13 large amount of data in a short period of time, accessing suspicious combinations of data, or the 14 like. The plaintiffs apparently accuse defendant's "Active Platform" of infringement. (See Dkt. 15 No. 1-1 at 1.) 16 Claim 1 of the '707 Patent, one of the two independent claims, reads as follows: 17 A method for detecting intrusion in a database, comprising: 18 defining at least one intrusion detection policy for the database; 19 associating each user with one of the defined policies; 20 receiving a database query from a user; 21 determining if the results of the query violate the intrusion 22 detection policy; 23 and altering the user's authorization if the intrusion detection policy has been violated. 24 25 '707 Patent at 6:2-12. The other independent claim, claim 12, mirrors the limitations of claim 1 26 but contemplates multiple users and multiple "intrusion detection" policies. See id. at 6:52-65. 27 II. LEGAL STANDARD 28 Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), judgment on the pleadings may be granted 2 3 1 when, accepting as true all material allegations contained in the nonmoving party's pleadings, the 2 moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Chavez v. United States, 683 F.3d 1102, 3 1108 (9th Cir. 2012). The applicable standard is essentially identical to the standard for a motion 4 to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). United States ex rel. Cafasso v. Gen. Dynamics C4 Sys., Inc., 637 5 F.3d 1047, 1054 n.4 (9th Cir. 2011). Thus, although the Court must accept well-pleaded facts as 6 true, it is not required to accept mere conclusory allegations or conclusions of law. See Ashcroft v. 7 Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009). 8 In ruling on a motion for judgment on the pleadings, the Court "need not. . . accept as true 9 allegations that contradict matters properly subject to judicial notice or by exhibit" attached to the 10 complaint. Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001) (citation 11 omitted). A challenge under Section 101 of the Patent Act may be brought as a motion for 12 judgment on the pleadings. See Open Text S.A. v. Box, Inc., 78 F. Supp. 3d 1043, 1045 (N.D. Cal. Northern District of California United States District Court 13 2015) (citing buySAFE, Inc. v. Google, Inc., 765 F.3d 1350, 1352 (Fed. Cir. 2014)). A court may 14 decide such a motion prior to claim construction. See Bancorp Servs., L.L.C. v. Sun Life Assur. 15 Co. of Canada (U.S.), 687 F.3d 1266, 1273-74 (Fed. Cir. 2012) ("[C]laim construction is not an 16 inviolable prerequisite to a validity determination under § 101. We note, however, that it will 17 ordinarily be desirable—and often necessary—to resolve claim construction disputes prior to a § 18 101 analysis, for the determination of patent eligibility requires a full understanding of the basic 19 character of the claimed subject matter."). 20 III. DISCUSSION 21 A. Claim Construction 22 In its opposition brief, plaintiffs argue claim construction is needed prior to resolution of 23 defendant's motion, pointing to pending claim construction involving the same patent in the 24 District of Connecticut in Protegrity Corporation et al. v. Gazzang, Inc., Case No. 14-cv-00825. 25 Defendant stipulated to the adoption of those constructions proposed by plaintiffs in Gazzang 26 solely for purposes of resolving the instant motion. (Dkt. No. 48 at 4.) The constructions follow: 27 28 3 3 1 Term Claims Construction Associating each user with one 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13,19, 20, 21 Assigning one of the defined 2 of the defined policies intrusion detection policies to a user 3 Authorization 1, 9, 11, 12, 20, 22 Level of access to the database 4 Intrusion detection policy 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 19, 20, 21 A policy that specifies at least 5 one item access rate or inference pattern to discover a 6 user who is authorized to access certain items but abuses 7 this authority 8 Item access rates 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 13, 14, 15, 16, Defines the number of rows in 17, 18 the database that a user may 9 access from an item (e.g. a column of a table) at one time 10 or over a certain period of time 11 User 1, 9, 11, 12, 20, 22 An entity including but not limited to a user, role, 12 program, process, application Northern District of California United States District Court or server 13 Inference pattern 8, 10, 11, 19, 21, 22 A policy that sets forth a 14 plurality of items that when accessed in combination may 15 expose unauthorized information 16 17 (Dkt. No. 47-2 at 3-4.) 18 At the hearing, plaintiffs pointed—for the first time—to several additional terms they 19 believe require construction prior to the Court ruling on the instant motion; however, they 20 provided a proposed construction as to only one of those terms: "altering. . . authorization." 21 Plaintiffs argued that an appropriate construction of that term would state that the altering process 22 must occur in "real time," a construction more limited than the scope of the term's plain and 23 ordinary meaning. Plaintiffs' decision to spring these un-briefed issues on defendant and the 24 Court at the hearing suggests gamesmanship.2 25 26 2 Notably, plaintiffs did not offer this proposed construction in the Gazzang case, 27 explaining their reasoning at the hearing: the defendant in Gazzang did not raise a Section 101 challenge, so plaintiffs presumably felt no need to propose a construction calculated to overcome a 28 § 101 challenge that would also limit the scope of the patent's claims. 4 3 1 As to the terms identified but for which no constructions were proposed or analyses 2 offered, the Court notes that where a patentee fails to "explain which terms require construction or 3 how the analysis would change" were those constructions adopted, the Court may rule on the 4 validity challenge prior to construing claims. See Cyberfone Sys., LLC v. CNN Interactive Grp., 5 Inc., 558 F. App'x 988, 991 n.1 (Fed. Cir. 2014); see also Ultramercial, Inc. v. Hulu, LLC, 772 6 F.3d 709, 719 (Fed. Cir. 2014) ("No formal claim construction was required because the asserted 7 claims disclosed no more than 'an abstract idea garnished with accessories' and there was no 8 'reasonable construction that would bring [them] within patentable subject matter.'") (alteration in 9 original); Boar's Head Corp. v. DirectApps, Inc., No. 2:14-CV-01927-KJM, 2015 WL 4530596, 10 at *7 (E.D. Cal. July 28, 2015) ("Although it is defendants' burden to show ineligibility, a court 11 should look to the plaintiff to show some factual dispute requiring claim construction."). 12 As to the term for which a construction was offered at the hearing, the Court need not Northern District of California United States District Court 13 consider this untimely argument. See Finjan, Inc. v. Sophos, Inc., No. 14-CV-01197-WHO, 2015 14 WL 890621, at *8 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 2, 2015) (finding arguments raised for the first time at 15 Markman hearing, but not included in briefing, were waived). It appears that plaintiffs' failure to 16 include the additional proposed construction in their opposition brief was a calculated attempt to 17 prevent defendant from providing a fulsome response thereto. Nevertheless, even adopting for 18 purposes of this order the additional construction proposed at the hearing, the patent is invalid for 19 the reasons discussed below. Moreover, no other reasonable constructions save the claims from 20 invalidity. 21 B. Section 101 22 The scope of subject matter eligible for patent protection is defined in Section 101 of the 23 Patent Act: "Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or 24 composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, 25 subject to the conditions and requirements of this title." 35 U.S.C. § 101. The Supreme Court has 26 "long held that this provision contains an important implicit exception: Laws of nature, natural 27 phenomena, and abstract ideas are not patentable." Alice Corp. Pty. v. CLS Bank Int'l, 134 S. Ct. 28 2347, 2354 (2014) ("Alice") (quoting Ass'n for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., 133 5 3 1 S. Ct. 2107, 2116 (2013)). In applying this exception, courts "must distinguish between patents 2 that claim the building blocks of human ingenuity and those that integrate the building blocks into 3 something more." Alice, 134 S. Ct. at 2354 (internal quotations and alterations omitted); see also 4 Mayo Collaborative Servs. v. Prometheus Labs., Inc., 132 S. Ct. 1289, 1301 (2012). 5 Thus, in determining whether claims are patent-ineligible, a court must first determine 6 whether they are directed to a patent-ineligible concept, such as an abstract idea. See Diamond v. 7 Chakrabarty, 447 U.S. 303, 309 (1980). "A principle, in the abstract, is a fundamental truth. . . 8 [which] cannot be patented." Gottschalk v. Benson, 409 U.S. 63, 67 (1972) (internal citations and 9 quotations omitted). "Phenomena of nature, though just discovered, mental processes, and 10 abstract intellectual concepts are not patentable, as they are the basic tools of scientific and 11 technological work." Id.; see also CyberSource Corp. v. Retail Decisions, Inc., 654 F.3d 1366, 12 1371 (Fed. Cir. 2011) ("[M]ental processes are not patent-eligible subject matter because the Northern District of California United States District Court 13 'application of [only] human intelligence to the solution of practical problems is no more than a 14 claim to a fundamental principle.'"). To determine whether patent claims are directed to an 15 abstract idea, the Court must "distill[] the gist of the claim[s]." Open Text S.A, 78 F. Supp. 3d at 16 1046 (citing Bilski v. Kappos, 561 U.S. 593, 611-12 (2010)). 17 If the claims are directed to an abstract idea, a court must then consider whether they 18 nevertheless involve an "inventive concept" such that "the patent in practice amounts to 19 significantly more than a patent upon the [ineligible concept] itself." Alice, 134 S. Ct. at 2355 20 (quoting Mayo, 132 S. Ct. at 1294); see also DDR Holdings, LLC v. Hotels.com, L.P., 773 F.3d 21 1245, 1255 (Fed. Cir. 2014) ("Distinguishing between claims that recite a patent-eligible invention 22 and claims that add too little to a patent-ineligible abstract concept can be difficult, as the line 23 separating the two is not always clear."). "For the role of a computer in a computer-implemented 24 invention to be deemed meaningful in the context of this analysis, it must involve more than 25 performance of 'well-understood, routine, [and] conventional activities previously known to the 26 industry.'" Content Extraction & Transmission LLC v. Wells Fargo Bank, Nat. Ass'n, 776 F.3d 27 1343, 1347-48 (Fed. Cir. 2014) (alteration in original); see also buySAFE, Inc. v. Google, Inc., 765 28 F.3d 1350, 1354 (Fed. Cir. 2014) ("The Court in Alice made clear that a claim directed to an 6 3 1 abstract idea does not move into section 101 eligibility territory by 'merely requir[ing] generic 2 computer implementation.'") (alteration in original). 3 The burden of establishing invalidity rests on the movant. See Microsoft Corp. v. i4i Ltd. 4 P'ship, 131 S. Ct. 2238, 2245 (2011) (citing 35 U.S.C.A. § 282). However, on a motion for 5 judgment on the pleadings for invalidity, where no extrinsic evidence is considered, the "clear and 6 convincing" standard for weighing evidence in determining a patent's validity is inapplicable. See 7 Shortridge v. Found. Constr. Payroll Serv., LLC, No. 14-CV-04850-JCS, 2015 WL 1739256, at 8 *7 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 14, 2015) (citing Modern Telecom Sys. LLC v. Earthlink, Inc., No. 14-CV- 9 0347-DOC, 2015 WL 1239992, at *7-8 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 17, 2015)). 10 After Alice, the Federal Circuit has held a number of patent claims directed to abstract 11 ideas to be invalid. A sampling follows: 12  "[D]igital image processing" claims were directed to "an abstract idea because Northern District of California United States District Court 13 [they described] a process of organizing information through mathematical 14 correlations and [were] not tied to a specific structure or machine." Digitech Image 15 Technologies, LLC v. Electronics for Imaging, Inc., 758 F.3d 1344, 1347, 1350 16 (Fed. Cir. 2014). 17  Claims covering "methods and machine-readable media encoded to perform steps 18 for guaranteeing a party's performance of its online transaction" were merely 19 "directed to creating familiar commercial arrangements by use of computers and 20 networks." buySAFE, Inc. v. Google, Inc., 765 F.3d 1350, 1351 (Fed. Cir. 2014). 21  Patent "directed to a method for distributing copyrighted media products over the 22 Internet where the consumer receives a copyrighted media product at no cost in 23 exchange for viewing an advertisement" was directed to an abstract idea, and 24 "routine additional steps such as updating an activity log, requiring a request from 25 the consumer to view the ad, restrictions on public access, and use of the Internet 26 [did] not transform [the] otherwise abstract idea into patent-eligible subject matter." 27 Ultramercial, Inc. v. Hulu, LLC, 772 F.3d 709, 709, 716 (Fed. Cir. 2014). 28  Patents covering a method for optical character recognition in connection with 7 3 1 scanning hard copy documents were directed to an abstract idea and, even if limited 2 "to a particular technological environment," were invalid because "[s]uch a 3 limitation has been held insufficient to save a claim in this context." Content 4 Extraction & Transmission LLC v. Wells Fargo Bank, Nat. Ass'n, 776 F.3d 1343, 5 1348 (Fed. Cir. 2014). 6  Patent relating to a "method of price optimization in an e-commerce environment 7. . . claims no more than an abstract idea coupled with routine data-gathering steps 8 and conventional computer activity. . . ." OIP Technologies, Inc. v. Amazon.com, 9 Inc., 788 F.3d 1359, 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2015). 10  Claims directed to "tracking financial transactions to determine whether they 11 exceed a pre-set spending limit (i.e., budgeting)" covered "an abstract idea and 12 [did] not otherwise claim an inventive concept." Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Northern District of California United States District Court 13 Capital One Bank (USA), 792 F.3d 1363, 1367, 1370 (Fed. Cir. 2015). 14 Notably, however, in DDR Holdings, LLC v. Hotels.com, L.P., the Federal Circuit upheld a 15 finding of validity as to a patent with claims "directed to systems and methods of generating a 16 composite web page that combines certain visual elements of a 'host' website with content of a 17 third-party merchant." 773 F.3d 1245, 1248 (Fed. Cir. 2014) ("For example, the generated 18 composite web page may combine the logo, background color, and fonts of the host website with 19 product information from the merchant."). The Federal Circuit found the patent "address[es] a 20 business challenge (retaining website visitors) . . . particular to the Internet," but cautioned "that 21 not all claims purporting to address Internet-centric challenges are eligible for patent." Id. at 22 1257-59. 23 i. Abstract Idea 24 As a threshold matter, the Court must determine whether the asserted claims are directed to 25 an abstract idea. The Court finds that the claims at issue are generally directed to the abstract 26 concept of limiting access to information based on specified criteria. See Cogent Med., Inc. v. 27 Elsevier Inc., 70 F. Supp. 3d 1058, 1063-65 (N.D. Cal. 2014) (holding claims covering cataloging 28 a database of information and culling information that may be particularly relevant to a certain 8 3 1 user constitute "the abstract idea of maintaining and searching a library of information"). 2 The two independent claims, as noted, are essentially the same, except that claim 1 applies 3 to a single-user environment while claim 12 involves more than one user and more than one access 4 policy. The method described is essentially as follows: define intrusion detection policies; 5 associate each user with a policy; receive a database query from a user; and determine if the 6 results of the query violate the applicable policy. If the query would result in a policy violation, 7 alter the user's authorization (in "real time") such that they cannot access the results. 8 Dependent claims add further limitations, detailing the types of access limitations that may 9 be employed on a user- or group-specific basis (e.g., limiting the number of database rows that 10 may be accessed3 in a period of time,4 or detecting patterns of suspicious activity5 such as by 11 "accumulating" results from a number of queries6). The core abstract idea remains essentially the 12 same in all instances, with the addition in the latter cases that the access limitation is based on Northern District of California United States District Court 13 detection of suspicious activity. This same concept, in its essential form, has long been 14 implemented by various individuals and organizations. 15 Indeed, such methods—absent the generic reference to a "database"—substantially predate 16 modern computers, arising in contexts such as physical security and access policies regarding a 17 variety of sensitive information housed in filing rooms or warehouses. Different individuals 18 within an organization might have permission to "check out" a certain number or type of files, 19 with attempts to exceed those limitations, or other suspicious activity, restricted. Thus, all claims 20 of the '707 Patent are directed to abstract ideas and will only survive the present challenge if they 21 include an inventive concept. 22 ii. Inventive Concept 23 As noted, the claims are directed to abstract ideas—namely, limiting access to 24 information based on access policies or suspicious requests. Where claims are directed to abstract 25 3 26 Claims 2-8, 13-19. 4 Claims 3, 5, 6, 14, 17, 18. 27 5 Claims 8, 10, 11, 19, 21, 22. 6 28 Claims 9, 11, 20. 9 3 1 ideas, they may still be valid so long as the claims put forth an "inventive concept." However, the 2 mere inclusion of well-understood, routine, and conventional activities—such as those present in 3 the prior art—does not save a claim. See Content Extraction & Transmission LLC, 776 F.3d at 4 1347-48. 5 Here, the independent claims merely describe, in broad strokes, the implementation of an 6 abstract idea in a general purpose computer environment. References to a "database" or "database 7 queries" do not save the claims. See DietGoal Innovations LLC v. Bravo Media LLC, 33 F. Supp. 8 3d 271, 287 (S.D.N.Y. 2014) (describing "a stored database" as "one of the most basic functions 9 of the generic computer"). While the specification also contemplates the use of "a number of 10 clients," "a server," "encrypted data," "a proxy server," "an access control system" and an 11 "intrusion detection module," the claims are not limited to that particular embodiment. See 12 Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303, 1323 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (noting that "although the Northern District of California United States District Court 13 specification often describes very specific embodiments of the invention, we have repeatedly 14 warned against confining the claims to those embodiments"). Moreover, that embodiment also 15 fails to constitute an inventive concept. Indeed, most of the elements discussed are merely generic 16 computer components or processes. See Accenture Global Servs., GmbH v. Guidewire Software, 17 Inc., 728 F.3d 1336, 1344 (Fed. Cir. 2013) (invalidating claims involving "a combination of 18 computer components including an insurance transaction database, a task library database, a client 19 component, and a server component, which includes an event processor, a task engine, and a task 20 assistant"); Intellectual Ventures II LLC v. JP Morgan Chase & Co., No. 13-CV-3777 AKH, 2015 21 WL 1941331, at *14 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 28, 2015) (finding features such as encryption and access 22 rules to be no more than "'well-understood, routine, conventional activity'"). The "access control 23 system" and the "intrusion detection module" are apparently no more than shorthand terms for 24 systems—potentially "software" systems—that implement the steps discussed in the claims in a 25 general purpose computer environment. See Bascom Research, LLC v. LinkedIn, Inc., 77 F. Supp. 26 3d 940, 951 (N.D. Cal. 2015) (invaliding "claims [that] amount to instructions to apply an abstract 27 idea—i.e., the concept of establishing relationships between documents and making those 28 relationships accessible to other users"). 10 3 1 The additional limitations of the independent claims, summarized in the preceding section, 2 also fail to save those claims from invalidity. The Court addresses each category of limitation in 3 turn. 4 As to the first category, "item access rates," the stipulated construction for purposes of this 5 motion is as follows: "Defines the number of rows in the database that a user may access from an 6 item (e.g. a column of a table) at one time or over a certain period of time." The concept of 7 limiting the amount of data a user can access is obvious and subsumed in the "inference detection" 8 category of prior art disclosed by the specification. Under that approach, restricting item access 9 rates would constitute a basic method for detecting suspicious requests. See '707 Patent at 2:1-8; 10 see also Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp., 56 F. Supp. 3d 1167, 1175 (C.D. Cal. 2014) ("A 11 conventional element may be one that is ubiquitous in the field, insignificant or obvious.") (citing 12 Mayo Collaborative Servs. v. Prometheus Labs., Inc., 132 S. Ct. 1289, 1298, (2012)). Thus, the Northern District of California United States District Court 13 claims that merely add this basic limitation do not embody an inventive concept. Tracking access 14 rates over time also fails to save the claims. See Alice, 134 S. Ct. at 2359 (mere "use of a 15 computer to create electronic records, track multiple transactions, and issue simultaneous 16 instructions" does not constitute an inventive concept); Ultramercial, Inc., 772 F.3d at 712, 715 17 (characterizing a step of "recording [a] transaction event to [an] activity log, . . . including 18 updating the total number of times" the event has occurred, as "routine, conventional activity"). 19 The inference pattern approach—detecting suspicious activity—along with other specific 20 approaches encompassing "item access rates" are disclosed in the specification as derived from 21 prior art. See '707 Patent at 1:27-2:12. 22 As to the second category, restricting access based on detected suspicious activity— 23 including, for example, by aggregating attempts over time and running the analysis thereon— 24 similarly does not constitute an inventive concept. As noted, the specification discloses "inference 25 detection" prior art which subsumes these limitations. 26 Plaintiffs argue the patent-in-suit departs substantially from the prior art by undertaking the 27 analysis and response in "real time," as opposed to reviewing logs after-the-fact, once the data in 28 question has already been retrieved. However, despite its later assertion that "[n]one of these 11 3 1 [prior art] solutions are. . . entirely satisfactory [because] they all concentrate on already effected 2 queries," '707 Patent at 2:9-12, the specification plainly discloses certain prior art methods also 3 functioning contemporaneously with the requests at issue, id. at 1:29, 1:43, 2:4. The specification 4 suggests the patent-in-suit improves upon the prior art because it permits access to be restricted 5 before information is transmitted to a user where an impermissible request is detected. Id. at 2:9- 6 12. The straightforward idea of immediately restricting access when an impermissible retrieval is 7 attempted, rather than merely logging the activity for future consideration, does not constitute an 8 inventive concept sufficient to save the claims. 9 Finally, while the machine-or-transformation test is not the conclusive test for determining 10 whether a process is patent-eligible, it may be a "useful and important clue." Bilski, 561 U.S. at 11 604. The methods at issue are not tied to a particular machine. "[T]o confer patent eligibility on a 12 claim, the computer 'must play a significant part in permitting the claimed method to be Northern District of California United States District Court 13 performed, rather than function solely as an obvious mechanism for permitting a solution to be 14 achieved more quickly. . . ." Cogent Med., 70 F. Supp. 3d at 1066 (quoting SiRF Tech., Inc. v. 15 Int'l Trade Comm'n, 601 F.3d 1319, 1333 (Fed. Cir. 2010)). Here, each step claimed could be 16 mentally performed by a human intermediary or tracked on pen and paper. See Planet Bingo, LLC 17 v. VKGS LLC, 576 Fed. App'x 1005, 1008 (Fed. Cir. 2014) (finding claims lacked an "inventive 18 concept," despite being limited to computer-aided methods and systems, where the steps at issue 19 could be "carried out in existing computers long in use" and "done mentally") (quoting 20 Gottschalk, 409 U.S. at 67). Moreover, nothing in the claims—which merely address controlling 21 access to data and otherwise have no physical manifestation or tangible result—constitutes a 22 transformation under the test. See, e.g., CyberSource, 654 F.3d at 1370 ("The mere collection and 23 organization of data. . . is insufficient to meet the transformation prong of the test."); Bancorp 24 Servs., L.L.C., 687 F.3d at 1273, 1278 (upholding district court finding that claims that "'do not 25 transform the raw data into anything other than more data and are not representations of any 26 physically existing objects' . . . do not effect a transformation" under the machine-or- 27 transformation test). 28 12 3 1 IV. CONCLUSION 2 For the foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS the defendant's motion for judgment on the 3 pleadings, finding all claims of the patent-in-suit to be invalid. In light of this ruling, the Case 4 Management Conference set for October 26, 2015 is VACATED. Defendant shall file a proposed 5 form of judgment, approved as to form by plaintiffs, by October 23, 2015. 6 This Order terminates Docket Number 43. 7 IT IS SO ORDERED. 8 Dated: October 19, 2015 9 ______________________________________ YVONNE GONZALEZ ROGERS 10 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE 11 12 Northern District of California United States District Court 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 13