Volume of Trading Technologies’ appeals against PTAB decisions grows further

Maria Nikolova

Earlier this week, the company filed another appeal against a Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruling over one of its GUI patents.

Trading Technologies continues to contest decisions made by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) over its GUI solutions. The latest such appeal by the company was entered Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on January 22, 2018 with the case naming TradeStation Technologies as respondent/appellee.

The case, captioned Trading Technologies Intl. v. TradeStation Technologies Inc. (0:18-bcaag-01443) takes the number of such appeals filed by TT over the past six months to nine. The usual appellees in these cases are TradeStation and Interactive Brokers. These companies have been sued by Trading Technologies over patent infringement. TT has thus far objected to all patent decisions made in favor of TradeStation and Interactive Brokers.

The latest case challenges the decision made by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board on November 17, 2017, over U.S. Patent No. 7,818,247 (Patent ‘247). The Specification of the ’247 patent describes trading tools for trading and monitoring a commodity on an electronic exchange. The tools aim to increase a user’s efficiency and reduce the time it takes to enter an order or quote.

In November last year, PTAB agreed with TradeStation that the claims are directed to well-understood, routine, and conventional steps of receiving market information, color-coding and displaying such information to a trader, who uses the information to facilitate trading a commodity.

For example, the “BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION” section of the ’247 patent explains that it was well known for an electronic exchange to connect to participant computers, allowing traders to participate in the market, by using software that creates specialized interactive trading screens in the traders’ desktops to facilitate trading a commodity. PTAB found no indication in the ’247 patent that the inventors invented gathering market information, displaying it to a trader, and using the information to facilitate trading a commodity. The use of a computer to perform these functions also was known in the art at the time of the invention, and the ’247 patent does not claim any improvement of a computing device.

PTAB has agreed with TradeStation that the problem noted in the Specification of the ’247 patent is not a technical one. Rather, the ’ 247 patent Specification highlights the problem and importance of reducing the time it takes to evaluate market data and enter an order. Informing a trader of certain stock market trends or events is an activity that is financial in nature.

Patent Owner argues that the ’247 patent claims a technological GUI tool that improves upon prior GUIs using a particular combination of GUI features and functionality (the particular makeup, structure and features of a GUI tool), and that the claims solve a technical problem. Patent Owner, however, PTAB noted, does not tie its arguments to the actual claim language to explain how the claimed steps solve a technical problem. The Board did not find, for example, that the patent claims cite improved technological GUI tool or solves a technical problem.

The Board found that the patent claims are directed to the abstract idea of receiving market information, color-coding graphical areas based on market information, and then updating the display based on newly received market information to assist a trader to make an order, which is a fundamental economic practice.

PTAB agreed with TradeStation that the ’247 patent claims simply provide a graphical representation on a computer of what traders have done in their minds since trading began.

As a result, the PTAB determined TradeStation has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that claims 1–21 of the ’247 patent are unpatentable.

Now, Trading Technologies asks the Court to review the PTAB decision.

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