Suit Takes Aim at “Business Method” Definition & Propriety of 101 Grounds

The very first petition for a Covered Business Method Patent Challenge (CBM) was filed on September 16th by SAP (CBM2012-00001). The petition (here) challenged U.S. Patent  6,553,350 of Versata Development Group. In May of 2011, Versata secured a $391 million dollar verdict in the Eastern District of Texas against SAP. The verdict is currently on appeal to the CAFC.

Back in January, the PTAB held that SAP’s CBM petition had demonstrated that it was more likely than not that the claims of the ‘350 patent were unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. §§ 101 (Trial Order here). The PTAB agreed to expedite the trial schedule and move the oral hearing to April 17, 2013. (decision here) The six month acceleration in the proceeding was provided in exchange for SAP dropping the prior art defenses, and agreeing to move forward only on their 101 challenge to the Versata patent. 

Two weeks back, Versata filed suit against the USPTO challenging the agency’s definition of a “business method,” and the ability to raise 101 as a statutory ground in a CBM. (101 is argued as not being embraced by 35 U.S.C. § 282, complaint here