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OIP Techs., Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

June 11, 2015

OIP TECHNOLOGIES, INC., Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
AMAZON.COM, INC., Defendant-Appellee

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in No. 12-CV-1233, Judge Edward M. Chen.

AFFIRMED.

MATTHEW D. POWERS, Tensegrity Law Group, LLP, Redwood City, CA, argued for plaintiff-appellant. Also represented by STEVEN CHERENSKY, PAUL EHRLICH, STEFANI SMITH, AARON MATTHEW NATHAN.

GREGORY G. GARRE, Latham & Watkins LLP, Washington, DC, argued for defendant-appellee. Also represented by GABRIEL BELL, MATTHEW J. MOORE; RICHARD GREGORY FRENKEL, Menlo Park, CA; JEFFREY H. DEAN, Amazon.com., Inc., Seattle, WA.

Before TARANTO, MAYER, and HUGHES, Circuit Judges. OPINION filed by Circuit Judge HUGHES. Concurring opinion filed by Circuit Judge MAYER.

OPINION

Page 1360

Hughes, Circuit Judge.

OIP Technologies alleges that Amazon.com infringes a patent that relates to a method of price optimization in an e-commerce environment. The district court granted judgment on the pleadings, concluding that the patent does not claim patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Because we agree with the district court that the patent-in-suit claims no more than an abstract idea coupled with routine data-gathering steps and conventional computer activity, we affirm.

I

In March 2012, OIP Technologies filed suit against Amazon.com alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,970,713, which claims computer-implemented methods for " pricing a product for sale." See, e.g., '713 patent col. 16 ll. 2-39 (claim 1). The '713 patent explains that traditionally merchandisers

Page 1361

manually determine prices based on their qualitative knowledge of the items, pricing experience, and other business policies. In setting the price of a particular good, the merchandiser estimates the shape of a demand curve for a particular product based on, for example, the good itself, the brand strength, market conditions, seasons, and past sales. Id. at col. 1 ll. 62 - col. 2 l. 2; col. 2 ll. 62-66. The '713 patent states that a problem with this approach is that the merchandiser is slow to react to changing market conditions, resulting in an imperfect pricing model where the merchandiser often is not charging an optimal price that maximizes profit. Id. at col. 2 ll. 13-19.

Accordingly, the '713 patent teaches a price-optimization method that " help[s] vendors automatically reach better pricing decisions through automatic estimation and measurement of actual demand to select ...


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