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United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
June 27, 2016, Decided
[*1343] [***1237] Chen, Circuit Judge.
BASCOM Global Internet Services, Inc. appeals from the grant of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), in which the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas held that BASCOM failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted because the claims of U.S. Patent No. 5,987,606 are invalid as a matter of law under 35 U.S.C. § 101. BASCOM has alleged that the claims of the '606 patent contain an "inventive concept" in their ordered combination of limitations sufficient to satisfy the second step of the Supreme Court's Alice test. We find nothing [**2] in the intrinsic record to refute that allegation as a matter of law. We therefore vacate the district court's order dismissing BASCOM's complaint, and remand for further proceedings.
The '606 patent was filed March 19, 1997. Back in 1997, the Internet was known to contain information that consumers, students, and businesses wanted to access. '606 patent, 1:16-17. As the patent describes in the "Background of the Present Invention" section, web browsers "such as the Netscape Navigator™ or the Microsoft Explorer™" allowed users to access websites in the form of HTML files. Id. at 1:18-24; see also id. at 1:23-25 ("Other software utilities for accessing Internet content include News Groups, FTPs, IRC chat rooms and email."). Some websites, however, contained information deemed unsuitable for some users. Corporations had the need to prevent their employees from accessing websites with certain types of information, such as "entertainment oriented sites," while allowing them to continue to access "technical or business sites," and parents had the need to prevent their family from accessing websites containing "sexually explicit or other objectionable information." Id. at 1:30-40.
The computer industry [**3] responded to this need by developing a software tool that allowed control over the type of information received over the Internet. The software tool inspected a user's request to access a website and applied one or more filtering mechanisms: "exclusive filtering ('black-listing') which prevents access to all sites on a predetermined list of Internet sites; inclusive filtering ('white-listing') which allows access only to a predetermined list of Internet sites; and word-screening or phrase-screening which prevents access to web site 'pages' which contain any word or phrase on a predetermined list." Id. at 1:41-50.
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827 F.3d 1341 *; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 11687 **; 119 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1236 ***
BASCOM GLOBAL INTERNET SERVICES, INC., Plaintiff-Appellant v. AT&T MOBILITY LLC, AT&T CORP., Defendants-Appellees
Subsequent History: On remand at, Motion denied by Bascom Global Internet Servs. v. AT&T Corp., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 226789 (N.D. Tex., July 31, 2017)
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas in No. 3:14-cv-03942-M, Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn.
BASCOM Global Internet Servs., Inc. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, 107 F. Supp. 3d 639, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63798 (N.D. Tex., May 15, 2015)
Disposition: VACATED AND REMANDED.
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Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Patent Law, Jurisdiction & Review, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Utility Requirement, Utility Patents, Process Patents, Principles & Results, Computer Software & Mental Steps, Utility Requirement, Proof of Utility