Justia Patents Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law
Move, Inc. v. Real Estate Alliance, Ltd.
REAL owns the 989 patent, now expired, directed to methods for locating available real estate properties using a zoom-enabled map on a computer. Move operates and maintains multiple interactive websites that allow users to search for available real estate properties and sought a declaratory judgment that REAL’s patents were invalid and that Move’s websites did not infringe them. REAL counterclaimed, alleging that the “Search by Map” and “Search by Zip Code” functions employed by Move infringed REAL’s claimed search methodologies. In 2009, the parties stipulated to non-infringement based on the district court’s claim construction, and after judgment was entered in favor of Move, REAL appealed regarding only one claim. The Federal Circuit vacated and remanded, holding that “selecting an area” as recited in the claim means that “the user or a computer chooses an area having boundaries, not when the computer updates certain display variables to reflect the selected area.” On remand, the district court entered summary judgment for Move. The Federal Circuit again vacated, holding that while Move cannot be liable for direct infringement, the district court erred by not analyzing inducement under 35 U.S.C. 271(b). View "Move, Inc. v. Real Estate Alliance, Ltd." on Justia Law
Fort Props., Inc. v. Am. Master Lease, LLC
Defendant's patent discloses an investment tool designed to enable property owners to buy and sell properties without incurring tax liability by enabling like-kind exchanges under 26 U.S.C. 1031. The claims require aggregation of multiple properties into a portfolio; interests in the portfolio are divided into "deed shares" and sold to investors similar to the sale of stock. Each deedshare can be encumbered by its own mortgage. The patent allows for a master tenant to perform administrative tasks such as paying insurance, property taxes, and rents. The district court invalidated each of 41 claims in the patent for failing to claim patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C.101, reasoning that the claims were not tied to a particular machine or apparatus and that none of the claims transform any article to a different state or thing. The Federal Circuit affirmed, holding that the claims attempt to capture unpatentable abstract subject matter. View "Fort Props., Inc. v. Am. Master Lease, LLC" on Justia Law