Streaming Under § 101: No Affinity for Patent Against Music Store App

Author: Duane L. Carver
Editor: Lauren J. Dreyer

In Affinity Labs of Texas, LLC v., Inc. et al., No. 15-2080 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 23, 2016), the Federal Circuit affirmed another invalidity ruling for lack of patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.  Affinity sued Amazon, alleging that it infringed a patent by marketing the Amazon Music system, which allows customers to stream music from a customized library. Amazon moved for summary judgment on the pleadings under § 101, and the Federal Circuit agreed.

Ruling that the patent was directed to the use of conventional or generic technology, such as “dial-a-joke” or “dial-a-prayer” that predated cell phones or the Internet, the Court reasoned that Affinity’s patent was directed toward the abstract concept of delivering user-selected media content to portable devices.  Further, the Court reasoned that features of the patent, such as a customizable interface and wireless streaming, did not embody an inventive concept.  The patent did not claim them with the specificity required in its claims or specification, according to the Court.


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