Unwired Planet, LLC v. Google, Inc., No. 15-1810 (Fed. Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Unwired’s patent, entitled “Subscriber Delivered Location-Based Services,” describes a system and method for providing wireless network subscribers (e.g., cell phone users) with prioritized search results based on the location of their mobile device (e.g., the nearest gas station). The specification describes how search results can be personalized for subscribers by taking into account, for example, “favorite restaurants; automobile service plans; and/or a wide variety of other subscriber information.” The specification also describes how search results can be ordered to give priority to “preferred service providers defined by the network administrator,” allowing the network to generate revenue by charging service providers to be put on the preferred-service-provider list. Prioritization based on subscriber information and preferred provider status is independent of a subscriber’s location; it can lead to service providers that are actually farther away from the subscriber being given priority over service providers that are nearer. On inter partes review and covered business method patent review, the Patent Board found certain claims invalid as obvious, 35 U.S.C. 103. The Federal Circuit affirmed, agreeing that the analogous prior art teaches prioritization that results in farther-over-nearer ordering and that a skilled practitioner would have been motivated to combine existing techniques.