Alice in Patentland

Alice in Patentland: Cryptopeak Solutions, LLC v. Multiple Defendants


Plaintiff Cryptopeak Solutions
Defendant Multiple Defendants
Court Eastern District Of Texas Marshall Division
Judge Judge Roy S. Payne
Motion Motion to Dismiss
Decision DENIED
Decision Date September 9, 2016


CryptoPeak Solutions LLC’s U.S. Patent No. 6,202,150 titled “Auto-Escrowable and Auto-Certifiable Cryptosystems” is directed to an algorithm for public-key cryptography that generates a public certificate of proof. The goal of public key cryptography is to permit secure communications between two parties who have never met before, even if the communications take place over an insecure channel like the internet. The public key can be used to encrypt messages, but only the private key can be used to decrypt those messages.

Defendants contended that the cases should be dismissed as the claims of the ’150 Patent:

  • recite both a method and an apparatus (IPXL),
  • are directed to unpatentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101
  • are indefinite under 35 U.S.C. § 112 because they use subjective terms that fail to provide reasonable certainty about the scope of the invention to one of ordinary skill in the art. (Indefiniteness)

Mixed Apparatus and Method Claiming (IPXL):

The Court stated that it is not dispositive that the words “method and apparatus” appear in the asserted claims. The Court has to determine whether the claim left the reader unclear whether infringement occurs when one creates a system that allows the user to practice the claimed method step, or when the user actually practices the method step. The Court determined that a method claim cannot be considered indefinite just because it recites some structure or apparatus that is used in performing the method; many method claims include some structure. Hence, the Court ordered that the asserted claims were not indefinite for mixed subject matter claiming under IPXL.

Subject Matter Eligibility:

The Court declined to recommend dismissal of Plaintiff’s complaints on the basis of subject matter ineligibility as the § 101 analysis was critically dependent on the scope of the asserted claims and the construction of certain key terms. Without the benefit of claim construction, the Court couldn’t determine whether the asserted claims preempt abstract mathematical principles or whether they are cabined to specific applications in digital communications systems.


The Court needed to decide whether an ordinary skilled person would recognize the terms of the art and/or the guidance of the specification as sufficient to render the scope of these terms reasonably certain. The courts recommended the case to be resolved after Markman. The Court couldn’t resolve the issue of indefiniteness without claim construction and associated fact finding about the knowledge of one of ordinary skill in the art.


On the basis of the preceding analysis, the Court DENIED the Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss.

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