United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
DOUGLAS P. WOODLOCK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Tele-Publishing, Inc. (“TPI”) and defendants
Facebook, Inc. and The Facebook, LLC (collectively
“Facebook”) have presented various dispositive
motions to resolve this computer program patent dispute. The
focus of the instant memorandum will be the respective
requests for summary disposition regarding the validity of
the asserted claims of U.S. Patent No. 6, 253, 216 (the
“‘216 Patent”) under 35 U.S.C. § 101,
which governs whether the subject matter is patentable as
assessed through the framework of Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd.
v. CLS Bank Intern., 134 S.Ct. 2347 (2014).
Because I conclude the subject matter of the ‘216
Patent is not patentable, I will direct the clerk to enter
final judgment for the defendants, resolving this case.
26, 2001, the Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”)
issued the ‘216 Patent to TPI. The claimed invention
“relates to a method and apparatus for providing a
personal page over a computer network. More particularly, the
method and apparatus provide users with a secure way to
display personal information to other computer network
users.” ‘216 Patent col 1. l. 14-18.
patent discusses the history of “personals”
sections in newspapers and explains how with “the
advent of the Internet's World Wide Web, systems for
providing personals advertisements on networked computer
systems have appeared.” Id. at col. 1. ll.
28-32. These web-based systems “consist largely of the
same information that is available in the newspaper
advertisements” and “merely mimic the newspaper
advertisements” rather than taking advantage of the new
technological format. Id. at col. 1. ll. 37-40.
to the patent, existing networked computer systems for
providing personals advertisements have several major
shortcomings. First, if the system allows users to customize
their personal pages, the system “often requires that
the user be able to generate the page using a programing
language or other protocol” even though “many
users of personals are not familiar with such
languages.” Id. at col. 1. ll. 59-64. Second,
existing systems that use standard web pages “provide
no privacy” to users because “the Internet allows
access by users world-wide” and “a relatively
large number of Internet users exist.” Id. at
col. 1. ll. 65-68, col. 2. l. 1. “With such a large
number of users, it is desirable to restrict access to
information on some pages or even to restrict access to some
pages.” ‘216 Patent col. 2. ll. 3-6. Finally,
existing systems struggle “to direct a desired audience
to a particular page. The owner of such a page must simply
hope that the desired audience, out of some tens of millions
of users, finds the page.” Id. at col. 2. ll.
‘216 Patent purports to address the shortcomings of
earlier systems. The invention is designed “to provide
a secure method for providing personal information in a
network environment which makes use of the multimedia
opportunities available on such a medium and makes the
information available in a private way, i.e., only to those
people that the person providing the information wishes to
see the information.” Id. at col. 2. ll.
method for providing a personal page on a computer system
accessible to a plurality of remote users through a computer
network, the remote users having profile information stored
in the computer network and accessible to other remote users,
comprising the steps of:
a) acceptable [sic] [accepting] profile information from a
plurality of remote users;
b) prompting a page-creating remote user with a plurality of
page templates for the personal page and receiving a template
selection from the remote user;
c) prompting the page-creating remote user to enter text to
the personal page and receiving entered text from the remote
d) prompting the page-creating remote user to select or enter
graphical information to display on the personal page and
receiving the selection or entry from the remote user;
e) storing attributes representing each selection or entry
made by the page-creating remote user in one or more
f) providing the page-creating remote user with means to
input security parameters for the personal page, the security
parameters specifying authorization of at least one other
remote user to access the personal page;
g) storing the security parameters in one or more databases;
h) displaying the personal page upon request only to remote
users who are authorized to access the personal page.
Id. at col. 12 ll. 48-67, col. 13 ll. 1-9.
2, 9, 25, and 26 depend upon Claim 1.
Claim 21 recites:
A computer program product comprising computer useable medium
having computer readable program code to:
(a) prompt a page-creating remote user with a plurality of
page templates for displaying personal information and to
receive a template selection from the remote user;
(b) prompt the page-creating remote user to enter text to the
personal page and to receive entered text from the remote
(c) prompt the page-creating remote user to select or enter
graphical information to display on the personal page and to
receive the selection or entry from the remote user;
(d) store attributes representing each selection or entry
made by the page-creating remote user in one ...