Federal Circuit Finds Claims Patent-Eligible Under §101

In DDR Holdings, LLC v. Hotels.com, a split panel of the Federal Circuit found claims reciting systems for retaining website visitors on a merchant’s webpage patent eligible under the Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l test for eligibility. The Court did not specifically determine whether the claims were directed to an abstract idea under the first step of the Alice analysis. Instead, the Court found that even if the claims were directed to an abstract idea, the claims recited a patent-eligible application of the abstract idea under the second step of the Alice analysis.

Regarding the second step of the Alice analysis, the Court reasoned that the claims “do not merely recite the performance of some business practice known from the pre-Internet world along with the requirement to perform it on the Internet.” The Court further reasoned that “the claimed solution is necessarily rooted in computer-technology in order to overcome a problem specifically arising in the realm of computer networks.” In so doing, however, the Court expressly cautioned “that not all claims purporting to address Internet-centric challenges are eligible for patent.”

The Court distinguished the claims at issue in Ultramercial, by reasoning that “the claims at issue here specify how interactions with the Internet are manipulated to yield a desired result—a result that overrides the routine and conventional sequence of events ordinarily triggered by the click of a hyperlink.”