FanDuel wins Judgment on the Pleadings in Patent Case

The Delaware District Court has released its memorandum and opinion granting defendant FanDuel’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in the case CG Interactive Technology Development, LLC, Interactive Games Limited, and Interactive Games LLC v. FanDuel, Inc. Plaintiffs are represented by McCarter & English, as well as Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner. FanDuel is represented by Erise IP and Morris James. The opinion was authored by Judge Richard G. Andrews.

The plaintiffs filed the suit against FanDuel in 2017 alleging that FanDuel infringed on 12 of its patents. Over the ensuing years, FanDuel successfully invalidated all of the claims but for claim 6 of U.S. Patent No. 8,771,058. This patent is “directed to determining game configurations on a mobile device based on the location of that device.” Claim 6 relies on Claim 1, which the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found invalid.

Before its transfer to Delaware, the case was previously before the District of Nevada, which decided the ’058 patent was patentable. The plaintiffs later argued that the law-of-the-case doctrine should apply, which would cease consideration of a patentability exception. The Delaware Court disagreed, distinguishing the FanDuel case because the Nevada court consolidated another case involving the same issue against another party while in the pre-trial phase.  No such consolidation occurred in Delaware. The Delaware court stated the “consolidation does not mean a previous decision in one case (Bwin.Party) retroactively applies to the other consolidated cases.” Therefore, the law-of-the-case doctrine is not applicable.

FanDuel argued that Claim 6 is an abstract idea as it “falls within the category of ‘method[s] of organizing human activity,” which the Supreme court previously determined was an abstract idea and thus unpatentable. The plaintiffs countered that the claim “is a specific improvement of the ‘operation of a mobile gaming device and the way it displays game configurations to an end user.” The Delaware District Court determined that claim 6 was an abstract idea for “determining game configuration based on location.” The claim includes “basic steps of determining the configuration of a game based on the location of a mobile device, a method of organizing human activity.”

The court went on to find that the claim is also unpatentable because it did not offer an inventive concept. It “does not have a ‘particular arrangement of elements’ that creates an inventive concept. The limitations of claim 6 instead teach the basic steps for using a conventional lookup table.” The patent did not define the ‘lookup table’ instead, referring and relying on conventional definitions of a lookup table.

While not a party to the case, FanDuel was mentioned in a recent lawsuit brought by a FanDuel user against Major League Baseball, alleging that recent cheating scandals constituted an “unlawful manipulation of players’ performance statistics.”