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Recognicorp, LLC v. Nintendo Co., Ltd.

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

April 28, 2017

RECOGNICORP, LLC, Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
NINTENDO CO., LTD., NINTENDO OF AMERICA, INC., Defendants-Appellees

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington in No. 2:12-cv-01873-RAJ, Judge Richard A. Jones.

          Jonathan Daniel Baker, Farney Daniels PC, San Mateo, CA, argued for plaintiff-appellant. Also represented by David P. Swenson, Minneapolis, MN.

          Mark S. Parris, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, Seattle, WA, argued for defendants-appellees. Also represented by Donald E. Daybell, Irvine, CA; Marc Shapiro, New York, NY; Will Melehani, San Francisco, CA.

          Before Lourie, Reyna, and Stoll, Circuit Judges.

          Reyna, Circuit Judge.

         RecogniCorp sued Nintendo for patent infringement. The district court found that RecogniCorp's patent claims ineligible subject matter and, based on that finding, granted Nintendo's motion for judgment on the pleadings. RecogniCorp appeals. The patent's claims are directed to the abstract idea of encoding and decoding image data, and the claims do not contain an inventive concept sufficient to render the patent eligible. Therefore, we affirm.

         Background

         1. The '303 Patent

         U.S. Patent No. 8, 005, 303 ("'303 patent") patent is entitled "Method and Apparatus for Encoding/Decoding Image Data." J.A. 17. It teaches a method and apparatus for building a composite facial image using constituent parts. See, e.g., J.A. 27 (col. 1 ll. 30-56 and col. 2 ll. 19- 28); J.A. 28 (col. 4 ll. 35-45).

         Prior to the invention disclosed in the '303 patent, composite facial images typically were stored in file formats such as "bitmap, " "gif, " or "jpeg." But these file formats required significant memory, and compressing the images often resulted in decreased image quality. Digital transmission of these images could be difficult. The '303 patent sought to solve this problem by encoding the image at one end through a variety of image classes that required less memory and bandwidth, and at the other end decoding the images.

          For purposes of this appeal, we find amended claim 1 to be representative.[1] It recites:

1. A method for creating a composite image, comprising:
displaying facial feature images on a first area of a first display via a first device associated with the first display, wherein the facial feature images are associated with facial feature element codes;
selecting a facial feature image from the first area of the first display via a user interface associated with the first device, wherein the first device incorporates the selected facial feature image into a composite image on a second area of the first display, wherein the composite image is associated with a composite facial image code having at least a facial feature element code and wherein the composite facial image code is derived by performing at least one ...

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