Introduction The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) affirmed a district court’s dismissal of Beteiro’s patent infringement cases because of subject matter ineligibility. The patents concerned facilitating remote gaming activity.

Background: Beteiro owns U.S. Patent Nos. 9,965,920 (“the ’920 patent”), 10,043,341 (“the ’341 patent”), 10,147,266 (“the ’266 patent”), and 10,255,755 (“the ’755 patent”) (the “Asserted Patents”). All of the Asserted Patents share a common specification and title: “Apparatus and Method for Facilitating Gaming Activity and/or Gambling Activity.” The Asserted Patents disclose a purported invention which “facilitate[s] gaming activity and/or gambling activity at a gaming venue remote from the user’s or individual’s physical location” such that the user can “participate in live gaming activity and/or gambling activity via a user communication device” even if the user is not in the same location as the gaming venue. ’920 patent at 3:9-14.1

The patents describe determining the user’s location via GPS on their mobile device, determining whether gambling is allowed in that location, and processing bets accordingly. During prosecution, the examiner found the claims patent eligible as requiring a particular machine (aka the “Machine or Transformation” test). Beteiro sued appellees Draftkings et al. for infringement. The district court granted appellees’ motions to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), finding the claims ineligible under 35 U.S.C. 101.

Federal Circuit Decision: The CAFC reviewed the dismissal de novo (without deference or “of new”) and agreed with the district court’s application of the Alice/Mayo test for ineligible subject matter. At step one, the claims were directed to the abstract idea of exchanging information about a bet and allowing or disallowing it based on location. The claims recited generic computer components and displayed hallmarks of abstractness like result-focused language. They were analogous to brick-and-mortar betting methods. At step two, the claims did not contain an inventive concept. The inclusion of GPS on a mobile device was conventional based on the very lean specification discussion. The complaint did not plausibly allege otherwise. The CAFC thus found that the claims merely implemented the abstract idea using generic computers.

Conclusion: The CAFC affirmed the dismissal. The claims were directed to an abstract idea and did not provide an inventive concept, amounting to conventional implementation of remote betting.

Lesson: Conventional computer hardware cannot save an otherwise abstract idea.