TRADING TECHNOLOGIES INT'L, INC. V. IBG LLC
Before Moore, Mayer, and Linn. Appeal from the Patent and Trial Appeal Board.
Summary: A graphical user interface that allows users to place orders for items (such as shares of stock) by moving icons onto displayed item prices is not patent eligible subject matter.
IBG and Interactive Brokers petitioned for Covered Business Method (“CBM”) review of claims from three patents owned by Trading Technologies. The patents covered graphical user interfaces (“GUIs”) for electronic trading. The Board held all of the challenged claims ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Trading Technologies appealed.
The Federal Circuit agreed that the challenged claims were ineligible. The claims covered various ways to initiate trades from GUIs in which market information is displayed on a graph. For example, the claims of one patent required (1) displaying bids and offers for an item on a graph, (2) allowing a user to move an icon onto the graph in order to (3) place an order for the item. Trading Technologies argued the claims recited eligible subject matter because the invention improved computer functionality compared to prior GUIs. The Federal Circuit disagreed, writing that the invention helped the human trader—not the computer—process information more quickly. The claimed GUI lacked an inventive concept because receiving and graphing price information was conventional, as was selecting and moving an icon on a screen. The Federal Circuit also declined to address the merits of Trading Technologies’ argument that CBM review violated the Seventh Amendment because Trading Technologies did not adequately brief the issue.