Affinity Labs of Tex., LLC v. DirecTV, LLC, No. 15-1845 (Fed. Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Affinity’s 379 patent contains two independent claims, directed to streaming regional broadcast signals to cellular telephones located outside the region served by the regional broadcaster. The district court held that the 379 patent is directed to an abstract idea: the purpose of the claimed invention, disseminating regionally broadcast content to users outside the region, is a well-known, longstanding business practice, and the claims directed to that purpose are not tangible and concrete. The court found that the claimed “downloadable application with graphical user interface” does not qualify as an “inventive concept.” After exploring the “developing body of law” under 35 U.S.C. 101, the Federal Circuit affirmed. The only limitations on the breadth of the result-focused, functional claims in this case are that the application used by the cellular telephone must be wirelessly downloadable and that the cellular telephone must have a graphical user interface display that allows the user to select the regional broadcasting channel. Those additional limitations describe purely conventional features of cellular telephones and the applications that enable them to perform particular functions. They do not meaningfully limit the scope of the claims.