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Benefit Funding Sys. LLC v. Advance Am. Cash Advance Ctrs. Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

September 25, 2014

BENEFIT FUNDING SYSTEMS LLC AND RETIREMENT CAPITAL ACCESS MANAGEMENT COMPANY LLC, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
ADVANCE AMERICA CASH ADVANCE CENTERS INC. AND CNU ONLINE HOLDINGS, LLC, formerly known as Cash America Net Holdings, LLC, Defendants-Appellees. BENEFIT FUNDING SYSTEMS LLC AND RETIREMENT CAPITAL ACCESS MANAGEMENT COMPANY LLC, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
REGIONS FINANCIAL CORPORATION, Defendant-Appellee. BENEFIT FUNDING SYSTEMS LLC AND RETIREMENT CAPITAL ACCESS MANAGEMENT COMPANY LLC, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
BENEFIT 2 FUNDING SYSTEMS
v.
ADVANCE AMERICA CASH U.S. BANCORP, Defendant-Appellee

As Corrected September 29, 2014.

Appeals from the United States District Court for the District of Delaware in Nos. 1:12-CV-00801, 1:12-CV-00802, and 1:12-CV-00803, Judge Leonard P. Stark.

CASEY L. GRIFFITH, Klemchuk Kubasta LLP, of Dallas, Texas, argued for appellants.

MATTHEW J. DOWD, Wiley Rein LLP, of Washington, DC, argued for all defendants-appellees. With him on the brief for U.S. Bancorp were ANTHONY H. SON and RYAN M. CORBETT. On the brief for Regions Financial Corporation were MEREDITH MARTIN ADDY, PAUL A. GENNARI, and GRETCHEN P. MILLER, Steptoe & Johnson LLP, of Chicago, Illinois. On the brief for Advance America, Cash Advance Centers, Inc. were LEWIS S. WIENER, ANN G. FORT and STEPHANIE G. STELLA, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, of Atlanta, Georgia. On the brief for CNU Online Holdings, LLC were JOHN A. LEJA and MARK T. DEMING, Polsinelli PC, of Chicago, Illinois. Of counsel was GRAHAM L.W. DAY, Of St. Louis, Missouri.

Before PROST, Chief Judge, LOURIE and HUGHES, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1384

Prost, Chief Judge.

Appellants, Benefit Funding Systems LLC and Retirement Capital Access Management Company LLC, appeal from the district court's stay of patent infringement litigation pending covered business method review of the asserted claims. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the district court's order staying the case.

Background

Appellants sued Appellees, Advance America Cash Advance Centers, Inc., Regions Financial Corporation, CNU Online Holdings, and U.S. Bancorp, alleging that they infringed U.S. Patent No. 6,625,582 (" '582 patent" ). The '582 patent covers a " system and method for enabling beneficiaries of retirement benefits to convert future benefits into current resources to meet current financial and other needs and objectives." '582 patent col. 8 ll. 35-38.

About ten months into the litigation, U.S. Bancorp filed a petition with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (" PTAB" ) for post-grant review of the asserted claims under the Transitional Program for Covered Business Method Patents. See America Invents Act, Pub. L. No. 112-29, § 18, 125 Stat. 284, 329-31 (2011) (" AIA" ). All Appellees then filed motions to stay litigation pending review. The district court denied those motions. Subsequently, the PTAB instituted the requested covered business method (" CBM" ) review on the sole basis of subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101, holding that " it is more likely than not that the challenged claims are unpatentable." U.S. Bancorp v. Ret. Capital Access Mgmt. Co., No. CBM2013-00014, slip op. at 2 (P.T.A.B. Sept. 20, 2013) (order instituting review). Appellees renewed their motions to stay, and the district court orally granted the motions. Appellants filed an interlocutory appeal and we have jurisdiction under Section 18(b) of the AIA.

Analysis

Section 18(b) of the AIA governs stays pending resolution of a CBM review. It identifies the following four factors that a district court should ...


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