Bancorp Servs., L.L.C. v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada, No. 11-1467 (Fed. Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Bancorp owns the 792 and 037 patents, for tracking value of life insurance policies in separate accounts, under which the policy owner pays a premium beyond that required for the death benefit and specifies types of assets in which additional funds are invested. Corporations use the policies to insure employees’ lives and fund retirement benefits on a tax-advantaged basis. The value of a separate account policy fluctuates; owners must report the value of their policies. The patents provide a computerized means for tracking book and market values and calculating stable value guarantee. Bancorp sued Sun Life for infringement. In another suit, the court invalidated the 792 patent for indefiniteness. Bancorp and Sun Life stipulated to conditional dismissal on collateral estoppel. The Federal Circuit reversed the other case. The district court vacated dismissal then granted summary judgment of invalidity under section 101 (ineligible abstract ideas) without addressing claim construction and analyzing each claim as a process claim. Applying “the machine-or-transformation test,” specified computer components are only objects on which claimed methods operate, and the central processor is a general purpose computer programmed in an unspecified manner for a process that can be completed manually. The claims “do not transform the raw data into anything other than more data and are not representations of any physically existing objects.” The Federal Circuit affirmed.