cxLoyalty, Inc. v. Maritz Holdings Inc., No. 20-1307 (Fed. Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Customer loyalty programs issue points that customers can redeem for goods and services. Maritz’s patent relates to a system and method for permitting a customer to redeem loyalty points without human intervention. A graphical user interface provides allows the participant to communicate with a web-based vendor system, such as an airline reservation system. An application programming interface interfaces with the GUI and the vendor system to facilitate information transfer between them.
cxLoyalty petitioned for a covered business method (CBM) review of claims 1–15 of the patent. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board concluded that original claims 1–15 are ineligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. 101 but that proposed substitute claims 16–23 are patent-eligible. cxLoyalty appealed as to the substitute claims; Maritz cross-appealed both the determination that the patent is eligible for CBM review and the ruling as to the original claims.
The Federal Circuit dismissed Maritz’s challenge to CBM eligibility and held that both the original and substitute claims are directed to patent-ineligible subject matter. The threshold determination that a patent qualifies for CBM review is non-appealable under 35 U.S.C. 324(e). Representative claim 1 is directed to transfers of information relating to a longstanding commercial practice and is directed to an abstract idea. The claims amount to nothing more than applying an abstract idea using techniques that are, individually or as an ordered combination, well-understood, routine, and conventional.