Electronic Communication Technologies, LLC v. ShoppersChoice.com, LLC, No. 19-1587 (Fed. Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
ECT sued ShoppersChoice for infringement of its 261 patent, titled “Secure Notification Messaging with User Option to Communicate with Delivery or Pickup Representative.” The Federal Circuit affirmed a judgment on the pleadings that claim 11 of the patent is invalid under 35 U.S.C. 101, as directed to the abstract idea of providing advance notification of the pickup or delivery of a mobile thing. Claims, like claim 11, that are directed to longstanding commercial practices do not pass step one of the two-part section 101 “Alice” test. The process of recording authentication information—such as the customer’s name, address, and telephone number—and including that information in subsequent communications with the customer is abstract not only because it is a longstanding commercial practice, but also because it amounts to nothing more than gathering, storing, and transmitting information, quite unlike the “improvement[s] in computer capabilities” that have been found eligible for patenting at step one. The claims do not include an inventive concept sufficient to transform the claimed abstract idea into a patent-eligible application.