OIP Techs., Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc., No. 12-1696 (Fed. Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
OIP Technologies sued Amazon.com alleging infringement of its 713 patent, which claims computer-implemented methods for “pricing a product for sale.” The patent explains that traditionally merchandisers 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. The713 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 and teaches a price-optimization method that “help[s] vendors automatically reach better pricing decisions through automatic estimation and measurement of actual demand to select prices.” The district court granted judgment on the pleadings, concluding that the patent does not claim patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. 101. The Federal Circuit affirmed, agreeing that the patent claims no more than an abstract idea coupled with routine data-gathering steps and conventional computer activity.