Minitab Inc. Prevails in Patent Dispute

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U.S. District Court order agrees with leading provider of software for quality improvement and statistics education.

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The Court’s decision is in harmony with a number of recent cases invalidating patents that attempted to claim patent protection for “abstract ideas.”

On February 3, 2015, Minitab, Inc. prevailed in a patent infringement suit against EngineRoom, LLC before the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The court issued an order granting Minitab’s Motion for Summary Judgment, invalidating every asserted claim of the three patents-in-suit as unpatentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

EngineRoom’s patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 8,046,190, 8,050,888, and 8,370,107, relate to a method of automated hypothesis testing. Minitab initiated the case in August of 2012 and sought a declaratory judgment of invalidity and non-infringement. EngineRoom counterclaimed for infringement and accused aspects of Minitab 16 Statistical Software of infringing its patents.

Minitab challenged the validity of all three patents by way of a summary judgment motion and asked the Court to determine, as a legal matter, that the claimed inventions in EngineRoom’s patents were not eligible for patent protection.

In granting Minitab’s motion, the Court agreed with Minitab that the patents disclosed an unpatentable, abstract idea and that “requesting and receiving information from a user and displaying the results of various inputs and calculations on a screen are basic, conventional computer activities.” The Court’s decision is in harmony with a number of recent cases invalidating patents that attempted to claim patent protection for “abstract ideas.”

In reaching this conclusion and ruling that the asserted claims of the patents were indeed unpatentable, the Court rejected EngineRoom’s argument that “the patents-in-suit cover a specific inventive, unique way to provide error-proofing for automated hypothesis testing.”

A team from the Palo Alto, Calif. office of the K&L Gates law firm, led by attorney Bryan J. Sinclair, represented Minitab. “The company is very pleased with the outcome, and so is the legal team, who all worked very hard toward obtaining this victory,” Sinclair says.

“Minitab certainly respects intellectual property rights, but felt very strongly that the patents at issue in the case were not valid, for a variety of reasons. We believe that Judge Jones reached a sound and well-reasoned decision that was warranted, given all of the evidence in the case.”

The Court’s order effectively ends EngineRoom’s infringement case against Minitab.

Minitab, Inc. v. EngineRoom, LLC, No. 4:12-cv-2170 (M.D. Pa. Feb. 3, 2015).

ABOUT MINITAB INC.

Minitab Inc. is one of the world’s leading developers of statistical software. Thousands of companies worldwide use Minitab software to analyze data for quality improvement programs. More than 4,000 colleges and universities use Minitab for teaching and research.

Devize, the company’s newest product, offers Monte Carlo simulation and optimization tools to help engineers assess product results and identify the best strategy for meeting product specs.

The company’s other products for quality practitioners include:
Minitab® 17, the leading software used for quality improvement and statistics education.

Quality Trainer by Minitab®, an e-learning course that teaches quality improvement statistics and how to use Minitab Statistical Software.

Qeystone®, a Project Portfolio Management platform designed to manage an organization’s entire Lean Six Sigma deployment.

Quality Companion by Minitab®, process improvement software for executing quality improvement projects.

The company also offers Minitab Express, a software package designed for teaching and learning introductory statistics and available for both the Mac and PC.

Minitab’s products are backed by outstanding services, including training and free technical support.

Headquartered in State College, Pa., Minitab Inc. operates offices in the United Kingdom, France, and Australia and has additional representatives throughout the world. They can be found online at http://www.minitab.com

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Eston Martz
Minitab Inc.
+1 (814) 753-3270
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