Patterson Intellectual Property Law

Firm Update

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More Than a “Store Within a Store”

Following up on a previous post, the ruling in DDR Holdings LLC v. Hotels.com wasn’t unanimous. The dissenting judge disagreed with the majority’s finding that the claims didn’t merely recite the performance of some business practice known from the pre-Internet world along with the requirement that it be done online.

According to the judge in question, DDR’s claims simply took a well-known, widely applied business practice — the idea of having a “store within a store” — and applied it with a generic computer and the Internet. For example, he said, one of the defendants previously sold vacation packages through point-of-purchase displays in its brick-and-mortar stores.

The majority, however, pointed out that customers approaching a store display can’t suddenly be transported to a third party’s separate physical venue where they could buy a package without any indication they’d been browsing the second venue’s aisles or need to return to the original store after purchase. It’s the challenge of retaining control over the customer’s attention in the context of the Internet, the majority said, that the patent claims addressed.