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United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
June 11, 2021, Decided
Prost, Circuit Judge.
Yanbin Yu and Zhongxuan Zhang (collectively, "Yu") sued Apple and Samsung (collectively, "Defendants"), alleging [*2] that Defendants infringed claims 1, 2, and 4 of U.S. Patent No. 6,611,289 ("the '289 patent"). The district court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss on the basis that the asserted claims were invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Yu appeals. Because the district court did not err, we affirm.
The '289 patent is titled "Digital Cameras Using Multiple Sensors with Multiple Lenses." Claim 1 is representative2 and recites:
1. An improved digital camera comprising:
a first and a second image sensor closely positioned with respect to a common plane, said second image sensor sensitive to a full region of visible color spectrum;
two lenses, each being mounted in front of one of said two image sensors;
said first image sensor producing a first image and said second image sensor producing a second image;
an analog-to-digital converting circuitry coupled to said first and said second image sensor and digitizing said first and said second intensity images to produce correspondingly a first digital image and a second digital image; an image memory, coupled to said analog-to-digital converting circuitry, for storing said first digital image and said second digital image; and
a digital image processor, coupled to said image memory and receiving said first digital image [*3] and said second digital image, producing a resultant digital image from said first digital image enhanced with said second digital image.
Defendants filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, which the district court granted with prejudice after concluding that each asserted claim was patent ineligible under § 101. The district court held that the asserted claims were directed to "the abstract idea of taking two pictures and using those pictures to enhance each other in some way." Yu v. Apple Inc., Nos. 18-cv-6181, 18-cv-6339, 2020 WL 1429773, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 24, 2020) ("District Court Opinion"). The court explained that "photographers ha[ve] been using multiple pictures to enhance each other for over a century." Id. at *4. The district court further concluded that the asserted claims lack an inventive concept, noting "the complete absence of any facts showing that the [claimed] elements were not well-known, routine, and conventional." Id. at *6.
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2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 17434 *; __ F.3d __; 2021 WL 2385520
YANBIN YU, ZHONGXUAN ZHANG, Plaintiffs-Appellants v. APPLE INC., Defendant-Appellee; YANBIN YU, ZHONGXUAN ZHANG, Plaintiffs-Appellants v. SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD., SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS AMERICA, INC., Defendants-Appellees
Prior History: [*1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in No. 3:18-cv-06181-JD, Judge James Donato.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in No. 3:18-cv-06339-JD, Judge James Donato.
Yu v. Apple Inc., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50960, 2020 WL 1429773 (N.D. Cal., Mar. 24, 2020)
digital, sensor, patent, abstract idea, enhance, district court, digital camera, invention, subject matter, eligibility, specification, images, configuration, conventional, converting, technology, producing, pictures, recited, analog-to-digital, ineligibility, circuitry, generic, color, memory, asserted claim, patent-eligible, conditions, coupled, camera
Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Patent Law, Jurisdiction & Review, Utility Patents, Process Patents, Computer Software & Mental Steps, Subject Matter, Infringement Actions, Claim Interpretation, Aids & Extrinsic Evidence, Discovery, Methods of Discovery, Expert Witness Discovery, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim