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Wanker v. United States

United States Court of Federal Claims

January 31, 2020, Filed

No. 18-1660



HOLTE, Judge.

Plaintiff accuses the government of infringing four United States patents. The government filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Rules of the Court of Federal Claims ("RCFC"), alleging the asserted patents are invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 for claiming patent-ineligible subject matter. This case was transferred to the undersigned Judge on 29 July 2019. After the parties submitted their respective briefs, the Court permitted plaintiff to file a supplemental paper addressing specific claim language and claim elements relevant to the patent-ineligibility inquiry under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The government was permitted to file a response paper. Oral argument was held 6 November 2019. For the following reasons, the Court DENIES the government's motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).

I. Overview

The Court draws the following facts [**2]  from plaintiff's complaint and assumes for the purposes of this motion all alleged facts are true. See, e.g., Boyle v. United States, 200 F.3d 1369, 1372 (Fed. Cir. 2000) (stating when ruling on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, this Court "must accept all well-pleaded factual allegations as true and draw all reasonable inferences in [the nonmovant's] favor").

Plaintiff William Paul Wanker is the "inventor and sole owner" of four U.S. patents: 7,302,429 (the '429 patent); 8,126,779 (the '779 patent); 8,204,797 (the '797 patent); and 9,595,041 (the '041 patent) (collectively, "the asserted patents"). Compl. ¶¶ 2, 10, ECF No. 1. The asserted patents are all part of a single patent family, with the '429 patent serving as the parent application. See id. ¶ 39. The '797 and '041 patents are each divisional applications of the '429 patent, while the '779 patent is a continuation-in-part of the '429 patent. Id.

 [*587]  The asserted patents relate generally to consumer information systems, providing a method for comparing products and services through the use of various weighting factors to assign each merchant a relative ranking. U.S. Pat. No. 7,302,429 to Wanker, at Abstract (hereinafter "'429 Patent"). This allows for easier comparison and contrasting of various merchants according to weighted factors specific to the consumer, resulting in the presentation of a ranking relative [**3]  to other merchants. See Compl. ¶ 49. Plaintiff commercializes technology covered by the asserted patents through his company, Legit Services Corporation, to "design[], manufacture[], and sell[] online software solutions to aid product and service purchasing analysis using selection criteria with variable weighting factors." Id. ¶ 9.

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146 Fed. Cl. 582 *; 2020 U.S. Claims LEXIS 68 **



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