In Bozeman Financial LLC v. Federal Reserve Bank [2019-1018, 2019-1020] (April 10, 2020), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s decision in a CBM that banks are “persons” who may petition for post-issuance review under the AIA. The Federal Circuit also affirmed that claims 21–24 of U.S. Patent No. 6,754,640 and 1–20 of U.S. Patent No. are ineligible under § 101.
On the issued of standing to bring a CBM, the Federal Circuit held that the Banks are “persons” under the AIA and the Board had authority to resolve the issues raised in their petitions. The Federal Circuit distinguished Return Mail, where the Supreme Court held that federal agencies are not “persons” able to seek post-issuance review of a patent under the AIA. The Federal Circuit said that the Supreme Court held that the government was not a “person,” such that it was capable of petitioning for any of the three post-issuance proceedings before the USPTO — inter partes review, post-grant review, and CBM review.
However, the Federal Circuit agreed with the banks that they are distinct from the government for purposes of the AIA, such that they are “persons” capable of bringing petitions for post-issuance review under the AIA.
Bozeman argued that the Banks were merely part of the government, but the Federal Circuit agreed with the Banks that they are corporations that are not government-owned and are operationally distinct from the federal government.
On the issue of eligibility, the Federal Circuit agreed with the Board that the ‘640 patent, which claim a computer implemented method for detecting fraud in financial transactions during a payment clearing process, are directed to the abstract idea of “collecting, displaying, and analyzing information to reconcile check information against a ledger. The Federal Circuit further agreed that the claims do not contain an inventive concept to render them eligible under § 101. Similarly, the Federal Circuit agreed with the Board that the claims of the ‘840 patent are directed to the abstract idea of “collecting and analyzing information for financial transaction fraud or error detection.” The Federal Circuit further agreed that It found that the claims recite generic computer technology and that the claim elements considered individually and as an ordered combination merely “apply the abstract concept of collecting, storing, analyzing, and communicating information to reconcile financial information.”