Alice Based Rejection – Now the Protocol Patents are under Threat

In a lawsuit of 7 patents, Apple passed a motion asserting 2 of Ericsson’s patents as invalid based on 35. U.S.C.§ 101. In the light of Alice ruling, Apple stated that PROTOCOL patents are similar to software patents (abstract concept) and hence, are not valid.

Alice based Rejections

Here are few examples of patented protocols which according to Apple’s motion could also be described as abstract concept implemented with standard hardware.

  • Call Control protocols (related to connecting to base station when mobile is switched on, call establishment procedures, etc.)
  • Handovers between cells (meaning that your phone connects to a different base station when you are walking or driving)
  • Bandwidth Management (adjusting internet bandwidth based on requirement) and so on.

Is this motion going to stand valid in the court? Though the judgment is yet to come, we feel if the ruling is in Apple’s favor, many companies will have to scrutinize their portfolio strength. Not just Ericsson, but a major part of the portfolio of companies like Nokia, and Interdigital is also protocol based. All of which could be under threat in case if the verdict is in Apple’s favor.

On the other hand, if it goes against Apple, many questions will be raised on the definition of Abstract Idea pertaining to the Alice ruling.

It’s a matter of time before we find out what happens next.

 Authored by – Muzammil Hassan and Vincy Khandpur.


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