Case: 19-1506 Document: 82 Page: 1 Filed: 05/11/2021
`United States Court of Appeals
`for the Federal Circuit
`2019-1506, 2019-2133
`Appeals from the United States District Court for the
`Northern District of California in No. 3:17-cv-02107-RS,
`Judge Richard Seeborg.
`Decided: May 11, 2021
`MATTHEW D. POWERS, Tensegrity Law Group LLP,
`Redwood Shores, CA, argued for plaintiff-appellant. Also
` INDRA NEEL CHATTERJEE, Goodwin Procter LLP, Red-
`wood City, CA, argued for defendants-cross-appellants.
`Also represented by ELIZABETH J. LOW, ANDREW S. ONG;
` ______________________


`Case: 19-1506 Document: 82 Page: 2 Filed: 05/11/2021
`Before DYK, REYNA, and HUGHES, Circuit Judges.
`REYNA, Circuit Judge.
`Free Stream Media Corp. d/b/a Samba TV appeals a
`summary judgment of noninfringement from the Northern
`District of California and a claim construction order from
`the Eastern District of Texas. Alphonso Inc. cross-appeals
`a denial of its motion to dismiss under 35 U.S.C. § 101 from
`the Northern District of California. We reverse the North-
`ern District of California’s judgment denying Alphonso’s
`motion to dismiss and do not reach the grant of summary
`judgment of noninfringement in favor of Alphonso. In ad-
`dition, we affirm the Eastern District of Texas’s claim con-
`struction order.
`Procedural History
`In November 2015, Free Stream Media Corp. d/b/a/
`Samba TV (“Samba”) asserted infringement of U.S. Patent
`No. 9,026,668 (“the ’668 patent”) in the Northern District
`of California. Later, in a separate case, Samba asserted
`U.S. Patent No. 9,386,356 (“the ’356 patent”) against Al-
`phonso Inc. (“Alphonso”) in the Eastern District of Texas.
`Both cases were consolidated by stipulation of the parties
`and later transferred to the Northern District of California.
`In March 2017, just before transfer, the Texas district court
`construed a disputed term of the asserted claims for both
`Upon transfer to the California district court, and
`based on the Texas district court’s claim construction,
`Samba stipulated to noninfringement as to the ’668 patent.
`Thereafter, Alphonso filed a motion to dismiss on grounds
`that the asserted claims of the ’356 patent are patent inel-
`igible subject matter under § 101. The district court denied
`the motion to dismiss. J.A. 1418–23; ECF No. 277. In its
`decision, the district court treated claim 1 of the ’356 patent
`as representative, J.A. 1418, and concluded that the claim


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`was not directed to an abstract idea of tailored advertising
`as argued by Alphonso, J.A. 1421, 1423. The district court
`found that the ’356 patent “describes systems and methods
`for addressing barriers to certain types of information ex-
`change between various technological devices, e.g., a tele-
`vision and a smartphone or tablet being used in the same
`place at the same time.” J.A. 1421.
`In April 2018, Alphonso moved for reconsideration of
`its motion to dismiss or, alternatively, to certify interlocu-
`tory appeal and stay, and that too was denied. In Decem-
`ber 2018, the California district court granted Alphonso
`summary judgment of noninfringement as to the asserted
`claims of the ’356 patent.
`Samba appeals the grant of summary judgment of non-
`infringement and the Texas district court’s claim construc-
`tion order. Alphonso cross-appeals the California district
`court’s denial of its motion to dismiss. We have jurisdiction
`under 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(1).
`The ’356 Patent
`The ’356 patent is entitled “Targeting with Television
`Audience Data Across Multiple Screens.” The patent gen-
`erally relates to a system providing a mobile phone user
`with targeted information (i.e., advertisements) that is
`deemed relevant to the user based on data gathered from
`the user’s television. See generally ’356 patent. The as-
`serted claims utilize three main components: (1) a net-
`worked device (e.g., a smart TV); (2) a client device (e.g., a
`mobile device); and (3) a relevancy matching server. See
`’356 patent Fig. 2; J.A. 303; Appellant’s Br. at 4. The dis-
`trict court treated claim 1 as representative for purposes of
`Alphonso’s motion to dismiss. J.A. 1418.1 The district
`court acknowledged that Samba was continuing to allege
`1 Samba asserts claims 1, 10, 13, 18, and 20 of the
`’356 patent; claims 13, 18 and 20 depend from claim 10.


`Case: 19-1506 Document: 82 Page: 4 Filed: 05/11/2021
`infringement of claim 10 but stated that Samba conceded
`claims 1 and 10 are similar. Because claim 10 was treated
`as representative in the summary judgment decision, we
`discuss both claims 1 and 10 for purposes of this court’s el-
`igibility analysis.2
`1. A system comprising:
`a television to generate a fingerprint data;
`a relevancy-matching server to:
`match primary data generated from the
`fingerprint data with targeted data, based
`on a relevancy factor, and
`search a storage for the targeted data;
`wherein the primary data is any one of a
`content identification data and a content
`identification history;
`a mobile device capable of being associated with the
`television to:
`process an embedded object,
`constrain an executable environment in a
`security sandbox, and execute a sandboxed
`application in the executable environment;
`a content identification server to:
`process the fingerprint data from the tele-
`vision, and
`2 Claim 10 was treated as the representative claim
`in the California district court’s summary judgment deci-
`sion. Because we conclude that both claims are directed to
`an abstract idea, we need not reach the merits of Samba’s
`appeal of the summary judgment decision.


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`communicate the primary data from the
`fingerprint data to any of a number of de-
`vices with an access to an identification
`data of at least one of the television and an
`automatic content identification service of
`the television.
`’356 patent at col. 51 l. 62–col. 52 l. 16.
`10. A relevancy-matching server communicatively
`coupled with a television and a mobile device
`through a network, comprising:
`a processor;
`a memory communicatively coupled with the pro-
`cessor; and
`instructions stored in the memory and executed us-
`ing the processor configured to:
`match primary data generated using a fin-
`gerprint data with targeted data, based on
`a relevancy factor comprising at least one
`of a category of the primary data, a behav-
`ioral history of a user, a category of a sand-
`boxed application, and another information
`associated with the user,
`search a storage for the targeted data,
`wherein the primary data is any one of a
`content identification data and a content
`identification history, and
`wherein the relevancy-matching server is
`to cause a rendering of the targeted data to
`the user through the sandboxed application
`of the mobile device.
`Id. at col. 53 ll. 8–27.


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`The network device collects primary data, which can
`consist of program information, location, weather infor-
`mation, or identification information. See, e.g., id. at col. 4
`ll. 39–45. There are two ways the primary data is collected:
`either directly, such as by identifying the show title of a
`specific commercial being broadcasted, or by using prelim-
`inary data, which includes watermarks. See, e.g., id. at col.
`11 ll. 3-12; col. 20 ll. 48–52. Watermarks are audio or video
`“snippets” called fingerprints that can be converted into
`primary data. See Order Denying Motion to Dismiss, ECF
`No. 277 at 2.
`The client device may be a smartphone, computer, or
`other hardware on which applications run and advertise-
`ments may be shown. See ’356 patent at col. 6 ll. 60–63.
`The client device includes a security sandbox, which is a
`security mechanism for separating running programs. See
`generally id. at col. 11 ll. 20–26. According to the specifica-
`[t]he security sandbox may constrain what each of
`the number of applications is allowed to do. For
`example, the security sandbox may limit access to
`the network, thereby making it difficult for the cli-
`ent device to find the networked device of the user
`and/or to obtain information directly from the net-
`worked device. Such information may include
`what is currently playing on the networked device.
`Id. at col. 11 ll. 5–12 (patent reference numbers omitted).
`Finally, a relevancy-matching server uses primary
`data from the networked device to select advertisements or
`other targeted data based on a relevancy factor associated
`with the user. Further, the relevancy-matching server
`“may also be configured to render the targeted data to the
`user through the networked device and/or the sandboxed
`application of the client device.” Id. at col. 12 ll. 59–64 (pat
`refernce numbers omitted); see also id. at col. 3 ll. 16–21.


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`A detailed review of the specification demonstrates
`that security sandboxes may be in place either at the oper-
`ating system level, so that a user application “could not cor-
`rupt the traditional operating system,” or at the
`application level, “so that each of the number of applica-
`tions cannot access [] data of an other application.” Id. at
`col. 11 ll. 15–26. The specification explains that the secu-
`rity sandbox may be “bypass[ed]” by establishing “a com-
`munication session between the sandboxed application and
`the sandbox-reachable service” of the networked device.
`See id. at col. 3 ll. 37–45. Specifically, “[t]he communica-
`tion session may be established between the sandboxed ap-
`plication [within a client device] and the sandbox-
`reachable service [within a networked device] through [a]
`cross-site scripting technique, [an] appended header, [a]
`same origin policy exception, and/or [an] other mode of by-
`passing a number of (e.g., at least one) access controls of
`the security sandbox.” Id. at col. 7 ll. 3–9 (patent reference
`numbers omitted). The communication session may exist
`directly between the client device and the networked de-
`vice, or indirectly (e.g., through a pairing server). Id. at col.
`11 l. 63–col. 12 l. 4 (patent reference numbers omitted).
`Id. at Fig. 1. The specification discloses various mecha-
`nisms that can be used to bypass the security sandbox.
`First, the specification describes the “cross-site scripting
`technique” as using a “computer security vulnerability that
`enables an injection of a client-side script to bypass the


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`number of access controls.” Id. at col. 12 ll. 6–10. Second,
`the patent discloses the “appended header,” which is de-
`scribed as “a mechanism . . . that allows a cross-domain
`request by adding a new header.” Id. at col. 12 ll. 12–16.
`Next, the patent discusses the “same origin policy excep-
`tion,” which may be “a technique for relaxing a rule pre-
`venting an access to . . . a number of different sites.” Id. at
`col. 12 ll. 19–25. Finally, the disclosure explains that the
`“other mode” may be “a mechanism of bypassing a number
`of access controls of the security sandbox” by enabling mul-
`ticast, broadcast, or an anycast-based discovery protocol or
`by enabling a “pairing via an entry of a short code and/or
`an account name in the client device [] and/or the net-
`worked device.” Id. at col. 12 ll. 26–37. All of this can be
`done without intervention from the user of the client de-
`vice. See id. at col. 2 ll. 46–59. Notably, the specification
`does not provide for any other mechanism that can be used
`to bypass the security sandbox other than “through a cross-
`site scripting technique, an appended header, a same
`origin policy exception, and/or an other mode of bypassing
`a number of access controls of the security sandbox.” Id. at
`col. 3 ll. 37–45. The specification states that all of these
`mechanisms exist “as a component of the communication
`session.” Id. at col. 12 ll. 5–30.
`U.S. patent law provides that a patent may be obtained
`for: processes, machines, manufactures, and compositions.
`See 35 U.S.C. § 101. But there are exceptions. “Laws of
`nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas are not pa-
`tentable.” Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 573 U.S.
`208, 216 (2014).
`Patent eligibility under § 101 is a question of law that
`may involve underlying questions of fact. Berkheimer v.
`HP Inc., 881 F.3d 1360, 1365 (Fed. Cir. 2018). To deter-
`mine whether an invention claims ineligible subject


`Case: 19-1506 Document: 82 Page: 9 Filed: 05/11/2021
`matter, we engage in a two-step process established by the
`Supreme Court in Alice.
`At Step 1, “we determine whether the claims at issue
`are directed to one of [the] patent-ineligible concepts,” i.e.,
`laws of nature, natural phenomena, or abstract ideas. Al-
`ice, 573 U.S. at 217. The inquiry may entail looking to the
`“focus of the claimed advance” over the prior art to see if
`the character of the claim as a whole, considered in light of
`the specification, is directed to ineligible subject matter.
`Trading Techs. Int’l, Inc. v. IBG LLC, 921 F.3d 1378, 1384
`(Fed. Cir. 2019).
`If we determine that the patent is drawn to an abstract
`idea or otherwise ineligible subject matter, we consider at
`Step 2 “the elements of each claim both individually and
`‘as an ordered combination’ to determine whether the ad-
`ditional elements ‘transform the nature of the claim’ into a
`patent-eligible application.” Alice, 573 U.S. at 217 (quoting
`Mayo Collaborative Servs. v. Prometheus Labs., Inc., 566
`U.S. 66, 78–79 (2012)). We analyze whether there is an
`“inventive concept” that takes the claim into the realm of
`patent eligibility. Id. at 217–19; see also Elec. Power Grp.,
`LLC v. Alstrom S.A, 830 F.3d 1350, 1353 (Fed. Cir. 2016);
`Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp., 822 F.3d 1327, 1335 (Fed.
`Cir. 2016).
`We review a district court’s dismissal for failure to
`state a claim under the law of the regional circuit—here,
`the Ninth Circuit. See BASCOM Glob. Internet Servs., Inc.
`v. AT&T Mobility LLC, 827 F.3d 1341, 1347 (Fed. Cir.
`2016). The Ninth Circuit reviews the grant of a motion to
`dismiss de novo. See Skilstaf, Inc. v. CVS Caremark Corp.,
`669 F.3d 1005, 1014 (9th Cir. 2012).
`A. Step 1
`The district court concluded that claim 1 was not di-
`rected to an abstract idea of tailored advertising as argued
`by Alphonso. J.A. 1421. Rather, the district court


`Case: 19-1506 Document: 82 Page: 10 Filed: 05/11/2021
`determined that the ’356 patent “describes systems and
`methods for addressing barriers to certain types of infor-
`mation exchange between various technological devices,
`e.g., a television and a smartphone or tablet being used in
`the same place at the same time.” Id.
`In its cross-appeal, Alphonso contends that the district
`court erred in concluding that the ’356 patent is not di-
`rected to patent-ineligible subject matter because the ’356
`patent is directed to the abstract idea of targeted advertis-
`ing. We agree. Our review of both claims 1 and 10 of the
`’356 patent reveals that the claims are directed to: (1) gath-
`ering information about television users’ viewing habits;
`(2) matching the information with other content (i.e., tar-
`geted advertisements) based on relevancy to the television
`viewer; and (3) sending that content to a second device.
`Samba argues that claims 1 and 10 are directed to a
`specific asserted improvement in computer capabilities,
`namely “television and mobile devices that operate with re-
`spect to each other differently from conventional televi-
`sions and mobile devices.” Appellant’s Resp. & Reply Br.
`at 41 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted); see
`also Appellee’s Reply Br. at 1 (acknowledging that Samba
`asserts its claims address purported technological barriers
`that prevent “Internet-connected devices, such as a televi-
`sion and a mobile device, from communicating with one an-
`other”). In support of its assertion, Samba contends that
`its claimed invention is like those previously found eligible
`in Enfish, Visual Memory, Finjan, Core Wireless, and
`Uniloc. Id. at 40; see cases cited infra note 3. More specif-
`ically, Samba argues that claim 1 is “specifically directed
`to a system wherein a television and a mobile device are
`intermediated by a content identification server and rele-
`vancy-matching server that can deliver to a ‘sandboxed’
`mobile device targeted data based on content known to
`have been displayed on the television, despite the barriers
`to communication imposed by the sandbox.” Id. at 41.


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`Samba also contends that the purported claimed ad-
`vance lies in sending the “relevant” content to a second de-
`vice (i.e., a user’s mobile device) through a sandboxed
`application of a mobile device. When asked about how
`claim 1 achieves the bypassing of the sandboxed applica-
`tion, counsel stated that “it has the embedded object that
`the phone is going to process that is placed there by the
`relevancy matching server . . . and the content identifica-
`tion server is also there to go through that sandboxed ap-
`plication.” Oral Argument at 52:00–52:40. 3 Specifically,
`Samba’s purported claimed advance lies in the following
`specific limitations of claim 1:
`a mobile device capable of being associated with the
`television to: process an embedded object, constrain
`an executable environment in a security sandbox,
`and execute a sandboxed application in the execut-
`able environment . . . [;]
`a content identification server to: process the fin-
`gerprint data from the television, and communi-
`cate the primary data from the fingerprint data to
`any of a number of devices with an access to an
`identification data of at least one of the television
`and an automatic content identification service of
`the television.
`’356 patent at col. 52 ll. 3–16. We have, in other cases,
`noted that similar claims were directed to the abstract idea
`of “targeted advertising.” See, e.g., Intellectual Ventures I
`LLC v. Cap. One Bank (USA), 792 F.3d 1363, 1369 (Fed.
`Cir. 2015); Bridge & Post, Inc. v. Verizon Commc’ns, Inc.,
`778 F. App’x 882, 886 (Fed. Cir. 2019).
`3 A recording of the Oral Argument is available at


`Case: 19-1506 Document: 82 Page: 12 Filed: 05/11/2021
`In the cases Samba relies on, this court determined
`that the respective claims were patent eligible because
`they were directed to a “specific improvement to the way
`computers operate.”4 More specifically, a common thread
`through all of the cited cases is a determination that the
`4 See, e.g., Enfish, 822 F.3d at 1333, 1336–37 (claims
`“directed to a self-referential table for a computer data-
`base” functioned “differently than conventional database
`structures” and resulted in “faster searching” and “more ef-
`fective storage”); Visual Memory LLC, v. NVIDIA Corp.,
`867 F.3d 1253, 1256–59 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (claims “directed
`to an improved computer memory system” allowed “differ-
`ent types of processors to be installed with the [same] sub-
`ject memory system without significantly compromising
`their individual performance”); Finjan, Inc. v. Blue Coat
`Sys., Inc., 879 F.3d 1299, 1304–05 (Fed. Cir. 2018) (claims
`directed to “behavior-based scans” “employ[ed] a new kind
`of file that enables a computer security system to do things
`it could not do before” by linking a security profile identify-
`ing suspicious code in a downloadable object before making
`it available to a client device); Core Wireless Licensing
`S.A.R.L. v. LG Elecs., Inc., 880 F.3d 1356, 1362 (Fed. Cir.
`2018) (claims “directed to a particular manner of summa-
`rizing and presenting information in electronic devices”
`made websites easier to navigate on a small-screen device);
`Uniloc USA, Inc. v. ADP, LLC, 772 F. App’x 890, 897–98
`(Fed. Cir. 2019) (claim “directed to the use of file packets
`with segments configured to initiate centralized registra-
`tion of an application from an application server . . . ena-
`ble[d] the further functionality of initiating on-demand
`registration of the application,” and the claim of the second
`patent “directed to a particular way of using a conventional
`application server . . . allow[ed] on[-]demand installation of
`an application incorporating preferences from two different
`sources by adding the application manager and configura-
`tion manager as additions to each application”).


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`claims were directed to an improvement in computer func-
`tionality. For example, in Enfish, this court determined
`that claims directed to an improvement in computer func-
`tionality “might not succumb to the abstract idea excep-
`tion.” 822 F.3d at 1335 (citing Alice, 573 U.S. at 217–19).
`In that case, the “plain focus of the claims [wa]s on an im-
`provement to computer functionality itself, not on economic
`or other tasks for which a computer is used in its ordinary
`capacity.” Id. at 1336. As will be discussed below, Enfish
`materially differs from the instant case.
`Further, this court has explained that a relevant in-
`quiry at Alice Step 1 is “whether the claims in the[] patent[]
`focus on a specific means or method that improves the rel-
`evant technology or are instead directed to a result or effect
`that itself is the abstract idea and merely invoke generic
`processes and machinery.” McRO, Inc. v. Bandai Namco
`Games Am. Inc., 837 F.3d 1299, 1314 (Fed. Cir. 2016). In-
`deed, in response to Samba’s arguments, Alphonso asserts
`that Samba “failed to identify any language in the ’356 pa-
`tent claims relating to overcoming the supposed communi-
`cation barriers between a television and a mobile device.”
`Appellee’s Reply Br. at 4; see also id. at 5 (“[t]he claims do
`not explain in any way how the supposed communication
`barriers are overcome”); see also id. at 5 (“the claims do not
`describe how the purported ‘barriers to communication im-
`posed by the sandbox’ are overcome”). As “reflected repeat-
`edly in our cases,” a claim must “ha[ve] the specificity
`required to transform [the] claim from one claiming only a
`result to one claiming a way of achieving it” to avoid ineli-
`gibility. SAP Am., Inc. v. InvestPic, LLC, 898 F.3d 1161,
`1167–68 (Fed. Cir. 2018) (collecting cases). As a result, a
`claim is ineligible if it “fail[s] to recite a practical way of
`applying an underlying idea . . . [and] instead [is] drafted
`in such a result-oriented way that [it] amount[s] to encom-
`passing ‘the principle in the abstract’ no matter how imple-
`mented.” Interval Licensing LLC v. AOL, Inc., 896 F.3d
`1335, 1343 (Fed. Cir. 2018). All that is required at the


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`eligibility phase is that the claim itself “must identify ‘how’
`that functional result is achieved by limiting the claim
`scope to structures specified at some level of concreteness,
`in the case of a product claim, or to concrete action, in the
`case of a method claim.” Am. Axle & Mfg., Inc. v. Neapco
`Holdings LLC, 967 F.3d 1285, 1302 (Fed. Cir. 2020). Here,
`Samba asserts that its invention allows devices on the
`same network to communicate where such devices were
`previously unable to do so. The asserted claims provide for
`how that is achieved only by stating that the mechanism
`used to achieve this communication is by piercing or other-
`wise overcoming a mobile device’s security sandbox. But
`the asserted claims do not at all describe how that result is
`Even assuming the specification sufficiently discloses
`how the sandbox is overcome, the asserted claims nonethe-
`less do not recite an improvement in computer functional-
` According
`the specification,
`the content
`identification server facilitates a communication session,
`which once established, “pierces” the sandboxed applica-
`tion via a “cross-site scripting technique, the appended
`header, the same origin policy exception, and/or the other
`mode of bypassing a number of (e.g., at least one) access
`controls of the security sandbox.” ’356 patent at col. 7 ll. 1–
`9 (patent reference numbers omitted). The only mecha-
`nisms recited in the specification used to bypass a number
`of access controls of the sandbox security do so by using a
`computer security vulnerability or relaxing a rule, which
`typically prevents access to a number of different sites,
`none of which are recited in the claims. See id.; see also id.
`at col. 12 ll. 6–10 (the “cross-site scripting technique” uses
`a “computer security vulnerability that enables an injec-
`tion of a client-side script to bypass the number of access
`controls”); id. at col. 12 ll. 19–25 (the “same origin policy
`exception,” may be “a technique for relaxing a rule prevent-
`ing an access to . . . a number of different sites”). All of this
`is done without intervention from the user of the client


`Case: 19-1506 Document: 82 Page: 15 Filed: 05/11/2021
`device. See id. at col. 2 ll. 46–59. The asserted claims do
`not incorporate any such methods of piercing the sandbox.
`With respect to claim 10, like claim 1, Samba alleges
`that the claimed advance is the rendering of targeted data
`to a user through the sandboxed application based on a rel-
`evancy factor, which includes a “category of a sandboxed
`application.”5 Oral Argument at 52:53–53:53, 55:06–57:44.
`When asked what “category of sandboxed application”
`meant, counsel responded that the category could be
`whether the mobile device was an “iPhone” or “Android.”
`Id. Thus, the relevancy-matching server “cause[s] a ren-
`dering of the targeted data to the user through the sand-
`boxed application of the mobile device” by using the
`relevancy factor to first determine whether a user had an
`iPhone or Android. ’356 patent at col. 53 ll. 25–27. Again,
`5 During arguments on summary judgment, Samba
`argued that claim 10 does not include or comprise a mobile
`device or television. The only requirement of the claims
`pertaining to the “television” and “mobile device” is that
`the claimed “relevancy matching server” is “communica-
`tively coupled”—which the parties stipulated to mean “con-
`nected in a way that permits communication” with each of
`them. See J.A. 34; Appellant’s Br. at 6. While Samba ar-
`gues that claim 10 does not require a mobile device, Samba
`also argues that the claimed advance of claim 10 is the
`piercing of a sandboxed application of the mobile device.
`There is a problem with the claimed advance including an
`element of the claim that Samba argues is not in fact re-
`quired by the claim. In other words, the claimed advance
`of going through the sandboxed application of the mobile
`device necessarily requires the sandboxed application of
`the mobile device, but oddly a mobile device is not required
`by the claim according to Samba. Such an infirmity in the
`claim further favors concluding that claim 10 is patent in-


`Case: 19-1506 Document: 82 Page: 16 Filed: 05/11/2021
`claim 10 does not include how the targeted data is ren-
`dered. The specification provides some information as to
`how a sandboxed application may be bypassed by the es-
`tablishment of a communication session, as described
`above, with the ultimate result being that a targeted ad-
`vertisement “bypasses” a mobile device’s security sandbox
`without any intervention, or request made, by a user of
`that mobile device.
`There is nothing in claims 1 or 10 that demonstrates
`an improvement to computer functionality. And, even as-
`suming, as Samba argues, that the claimed advance is in
`the ability to pierce the sandbox of a mobile device, Samba
`has not demonstrated that this is something more than a
`mere use of a computer as a tool. The sandboxed applica-
`tion here is breached unbeknownst to the user through a
`“vulnerability” or “relaxation of the rules” that are conven-
`tionally in place to effectively prevent such a communica-
`tion. In fact, Samba readily admits that the “problem”
`solved by the invention is “to provide relevant information
`across a sandboxed environment without requiring ‘instal-
`lation, configuration, login, and/or user registration.’” Ap-
`pellant’s Resp. & Reply Br. at 49; ’356 patent at col. 51 ll.
`34–38. Therefore, the alleged technological improvement
`does nothing more than implement a computer to achieve
`the abstract idea of providing targeted advertising to the
`mobile device user.
`Although Samba also asserts that its claimed invention
`results in televisions and mobile devices operating with re-
`spect to each other in a manner different from conventional
`televisions and mobile devices, Samba does not explain
`how that result improves the operability of these devices
`beyond providing a user with targeted content using ge-
`neric processes and machinery. Samba’s claims merely im-
`prove the abstract idea of targeted advertising. Because
`we find that Samba’s asserted claims are not directed to an
`improvement of a technology or creation of a new computer


`Case: 19-1506 Document: 82 Page: 17 Filed: 05/11/2021
`functionality, Samba’s asserted claims are directed to an
`abstract idea.
`B. Step 2
`The district court did not reach Step 2 because it con-
`cluded that the claims were not directed to an abstract idea
`at Step 1. In response to Alphonso’s cross-appeal, and its
`argument that there is nothing innovative about any of the
`computer processors or servers appearing in the claims,
`Samba argues that its claims are also eligible under Step 2
`because they recite a specific, ordered combination of ele-
`ments operating in unconventional ways, such that they
`override “their routine and conventional inability to share
`information with each other.” Appellant’s Resp. & Reply
`Br. at 52. In support of its arguments, Samba cites DDR
`Holdings, LLC v., L.P., 773 F.3d 1245 (Fed. Cir.
`2014), and BASCOM Global Internet Services., Inc. v.
`AT&T Mobility LLC, 827 F.3d 1341 (Fed. Cir. 2016).
`Samba asserts that like the claims in the aforementioned
`cases, the claims of the ’356 patent “specify the components
`or methods that permit the television and mobile device to
`operate in [an] unconventional manner, including the use
`of fingerprinting, a content identification server, a rele-
`vancy-matching server, and bypassing the mobile device
`security sandbox.” Appellant’s Br. at 53–54. In other
`words, the systems and methods of the ’356 patent permit
`the “new and unconventional operation of mobile devices
`and televisions by intermediating their communication
`through components that, when functioning together, ob-
`tain information about content on the television and use it
`to identify content that can be provided to the mobile device
`despite its security sandbox.” Id. at 55.
`In DDR Holdings, the claimed invention solved the
`problem of allowing a website visitor to view a hyperlinked
`advertisement without being

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