United States District Court, S.D. New York
For the plaintiff: Damian Wasserbauer, Aeton Law Partners, LLP, Middletown, CT.
For the defendant: Joseph Leventhal, Leventhal Law, LLP, San Diego, CA.
OPINION & ORDER
DENISE COTE, United States District Judge.
Findthebest.com, Inc. (" FTB" ) moves for award of attorneys' fees and other expenses from Lumen View Technology, LLC (" Lumen View" ), on the ground that this case is exceptional under 35 U.S.C. § 285 (" Section 285" ). This is a prototypical exceptional case. FTB's motion is granted.
FTB is a corporation that operates a website which matches users with goods or services according to criteria that the users enter, at times using FTB's proprietary " AssistMe" program. Lumen is a patent holding " Non Practicing Entity" that acquires patents and instigates patent infringement lawsuits. Lumen appears to be a shell company that is one of a number of related companies involved in litigating patent infringement suits. This motion arises out of a lawsuit brought by Lumen against FTB alleging infringement of United States Patent No. 8,069,073 (" '073 Patent" ).
I. The '073 Patent
Lumen became the exclusive licensee of '073 Patent on March 1, 2012, which was approximately a week after Lumen was formed. The '073 Patent was issued on November 29, 2011, and is entitled a " System and Method For Facilitating Bilateral And Multilateral Decision-Making." The single independent claim of the '073 Patent states in full:
We claim: A computer-implemented method for facilitating evaluation, in connection with the procurement or delivery of products or services, in a context of at least one of (i) a financial transaction and (ii) operation of an enterprise, such context involving a first class of parties in a first role and a second class of counterparties in a second role, the method comprising:
In a first computer process, retrieving first preference data from a first digital storage medium, the first preference data including attribute levels derived from choices made by at least one of the parties in the first class;
In a second computer process, retrieving second preference data from a second digital storage medium, the second preference data including attribute levels derived from choices made by at least one of the counterparties in the second class;
In a third computer process, for a selected party, performing multilateral analyses of the selected party's preference data and the preference data of each of the counterparties, and computing a closeness-of-fit value based thereon; and
In a fourth computer process, using the computed closeness-of-fit values to derive and provide a list matching the selected party and at least one of the counterparties.
The " summary of the invention" provision of the '073 Patent elaborates that:
The method involves supplying to at least one of the parties a series of forced choice questions so as to elicit party responses; supplying to at least one of the counterparties a series of forced choice questions so as to elicit counterparty responses; and delivering a list matching the at least one party and the at least one counterparty according to analysis of preference profiles determined using conjoint analysis of the party responses and the counterparty responses. In alternative embodiments the list may be ranked according to closeness of fit.
In sum, the purported invention disclosed by the '073 Patent is a method of matchmaking whereby one or more parties on each side input attribute preferences and intensity of preference data and then a computer matches the parties on each side by a " closeness-of-fit" process and produces a list. On November 22, 2013, this Court held that the '073 Patent claimed an abstract idea, which was patent ineligible subject matter under the codified Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. § 101. Lumen View Tech. ...