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Elec. Power Group, LLC v. Alstom S.A.

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

August 1, 2016, Decided

2015-1778

Opinion

 [*1351]  [***1739]   Taranto, Circuit Judge.

This case involves the eligibility for patenting, under 35 U.S.C. § 101, of certain claims of three of Electric Power Group, LLC's patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 7,233,843; 8,060,259; and 8,401,710. Those patents describe and claim systems and methods for performing real-time performance monitoring of an electric power grid by collecting data from multiple data sources, analyzing the data, and displaying the results. See '710 patent, col. 1, lines 27-30; id., col. 2, lines 43-49. Electric Power Group sued Alstom S.A., Alstom Grid, Inc., Psymetrix Limited, and Alstom Limited (collectively, Alstom) in the Central District of California, alleging infringement of various claims of the three patents. [**2]  The district court granted Alstom summary judgment that the subject matter of Electric Power Group's asserted patent claims fails the tests for patent eligibility under governing precedent.

We affirm. Though lengthy and numerous, the claims do not go beyond requiring the collection, analysis, and display of available information in a particular field, stating those functions in general terms, without limiting them to technical means for performing the functions that are arguably an advance over conventional computer and network technology. The claims, defining a desirable information-based result and not limited to inventive  [***1740]  means of achieving the result, fail under § 101.

Claim 12 of the '710 patent is representative of the asserted claims.1 It reads:

12. A method of detecting events on an inter-connected electric power grid in real time over a wide area and automatically analyzing the events on the interconnected electric power grid, the method comprising:

receiving a plurality of data streams, each of the data streams comprising sub-second, time stamped synchronized phasor measurements wherein the measurements in each stream are collected in real time at geographically distinct points over the wide [**3]  area of the interconnected electric power grid, the wide area comprising at least two elements from among control are-as, transmission companies, utilities, regional reliability coordinators, and reliability jurisdic-tions;

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830 F.3d 1350 *; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13861 **; 119 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1739 ***

ELECTRIC POWER GROUP, LLC, Plaintiff-Appellant v. ALSTOM S.A., ALSTOM GRID, INC., PSYMETRIX, LTD., ALSTOM LIMITED, Defendants-Appellees

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California in No. 2:12-cv-06365-JGBRZ, Judge Jesus G. Bernal.

Elec. Power Grp., LLC v. Alstom, S.A., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67232 (C.D. Cal., May 21, 2015)

Disposition: AFFIRMED.

CORE TERMS

display, electric power, abstract idea, inventive, patent, grid, collection, analyzing, measurements, streams, wide area, monitoring, functions, district court, metrics, network, real time, technology, processes, asserted claim, interconnected, conventional, comprising, ineligible, performing

Patent Law, Jurisdiction & Review, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Subject Matter, Utility Patents, Process Patents, Elements, Subject Matter, Process Patents, Computer Software & Mental Steps