In an opinion yesterday, Judge Cote concluded that a plaintiff’s software patent was not eligible for patent protection because it amounted to an abstract idea.  The patent covered a “method of creating a dynamically adaptable tutorial,” and, in essence, it described a method of linking website elements so as to facilitate, and easily update, online tutorials.  As Judge Cote explained:

The ‘008 Patent describes an abstract idea that is ineligible for patent protection. The steps asserted in the Patent that constitute the “method” of the invention lack the specificity required to establish patentability. The core feature of the patent is the connection between instructions and graphical features of a webpage. This connection is made through the creation of calling scripts. The claim does not disclose, however, a method for creating the calling scripts, much less explain how the calling scripts are to be “automatically generated.” The patent essentially claims any method of using a computer to “automatically generate” the dynamic linking of instructions with website features.

Boiled down to its essence, the ‘008 Patent claims the automatic generation of a computer code that creates an association between two objects. This is not an improvement in computer functionality, but rather a way of using a computer as a tool . . . .

These deficiencies in the invention become clear when one considers the specific improvement in computer functionality claimed by the Patent. The asserted improvement in functionality is twofold. First, [plaintiff] asserts in its opposition brief that the invention aids a user of its invention who is not proficient in computer programming by “automatically generating” calling scripts. But there is no explanation of how those calling scripts are automatically generated. It merely presents the idea of using a computer to perform such a function.

Second, [plaintiff] contends that the claimed invention saves a user of its invention from having to regularly update instructional materials because the features of the display elements, such as size or location, are “automatically determined.” Again, the value of the invention is, in essence, the automatic performance of certain tasks by a computer.