Case: 19-1765 Document: 48 Page: 1 Filed: 06/19/2020
`NOTE: This disposition is nonprecedential.
`United States Court of Appeals
`for the Federal Circuit
`2019-1765, 2019-1767, 2019-1823
`Appeals from the United States District Court for the
`Northern District of California in Nos. 5:18-cv-03685-LHK,
`5:18-cv-06199-LHK, Judge Lucy H. Koh.
`Decided: June 19, 2020
`GREGORY H. LANTIER, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale
`and Dorr LLP, Washington, DC, argued for plaintiffs-ap-
`pellants. Also represented by RICHARD ANTHONY CRUDO;
`ton, DC, argued for defendant-appellee. Also represented
`Francisco, CA.


`Case: 19-1765 Document: 48 Page: 2 Filed: 06/19/2020
` ______________________
`Before PROST, Chief Judge, WALLACH and HUGHES, Circuit
`HUGHES, Circuit Judge.
`Dropbox, Inc., and its wholly owned subsidiary, Orci-
`nus Holdings, LLC, appeal the district court’s decision
`holding three of their patents ineligible under 35 U.S.C.
`§ 101. We agree with the district court that the patents
`claim abstract ideas, and that the claims provide no in-
`ventive concept transforming the abstract idea into patent-
`able subject matter. We therefore affirm the district court’s
`In June 2018, Dropbox filed suit against Synchronoss
`Technologies, Inc., alleging infringement of three patents.
`Dropbox, Inc. v. Synchronoss Techs., Inc., 371 F. Supp. 3d
`668, 677 (N.D. Cal. 2019). The three asserted patents, U.S.
`Patent Numbers 6,178,505, 6,058,399, and 7,567,541, re-
`late to, respectively, “Secure Delivery of Information in a
`Network,” “File Upload Synchronization,” and a “System
`and Method for Personal Data Backup for Mobile Customer
`Premises Equipment.” See ’505 Patent, title; ’399 Patent,
`title; ’541 Patent, title.
`Because Orcinus Holdings owns the ’541 patent, Drop-
`box amended its complaint to remove the ’541 patent, and
`Orcinus Holdings filed a suit asserting the ’541 patent
`against Synchronoss. Dropbox, 371 F. Supp. 3d at 677–78;
`Orcinus Holdings, LLC v. Synchronoss Techs., Inc.,
`379 F. Supp. 3d 857, 861 (N.D. Cal. 2019). Synchronoss
`moved to dismiss the claims, arguing that the patents are
`invalid due to their ineligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101.
`Dropbox, 371 F. Supp. 3d at 678. The district court agreed
`with Synchronoss, issuing orders holding all three patents


`Case: 19-1765 Document: 48 Page: 3 Filed: 06/19/2020
`invalid for failing to claim eligible subject matter. See id.
`at 700; Orcinus Holdings, 379 F. Supp. 3d at 883.
`Dropbox1 timely appealed. We have jurisdiction over
`the consolidated appeals under 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(1).
`We review a district court’s dismissal for failure to
`state a claim under the law of the regional circuit—here,
`the Ninth Circuit. 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. Skilstaf, Inc. v. CVS Caremark Corp., 669 F.3d
`1005, 1014 (9th Cir. 2012). In evaluating a motion to dis-
`miss, the district court need not “assume the truth of legal
`conclusions merely because they are cast in the form of fac-
`tual allegations.” Fayer v. Vaughn, 649 F.3d 1061, 1064
`(9th Cir. 2011) (quoting W. Min. Council v. Watt, 643 F.2d
`618, 624 (9th Cir. 1981)). “[C]onclusory allegations of law
`and unwarranted inferences are insufficient to defeat a mo-
`tion to dismiss.” Adams v. Johnson, 355 F.3d 1179, 1183
`(9th Cir. 2004).
`“Patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 is ultimately
`an issue of law we review de novo. [But] [t]he patent eligi-
`bility inquiry may contain underlying issues of fact.” Berk-
`heimer v. HP Inc., 881 F.3d 1360, 1365 (Fed. Cir. 2018).
`For example, “[w]hether a claim ‘supplies an inventive con-
`cept that renders a claim “significantly more” than an ab-
`stract idea to which it is directed is a question of law’ that
`may include underlying factual determinations.” Charge-
`Point, Inc. v. SemaConnect, Inc., 920 F.3d 759, 773 (Fed.
`Cir. 2019) (quoting BSG Tech LLC v. Buyseasons, Inc., 899
`1 As did Orcinus Holdings; we refer to Orcinus col-
`lectively with its parent company as Dropbox.


`Case: 19-1765 Document: 48 Page: 4 Filed: 06/19/2020
`F.3d 1281, 1290 (Fed. Cir. 2018), in turn quoting Alice
`Corp. Pty. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 573 U.S. 208, 218 (2014)).
`“Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful pro-
`cess, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or
`any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a pa-
`tent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of
`this title.” 35 U.S.C. § 101. But the Supreme Court has
`“long held that this provision contains an important im-
`plicit exception: Laws of nature, natural phenomena, and
`abstract ideas are not patentable.” Alice, 573 U.S. at 216.
`“To determine whether claimed subject matter is pa-
`tent-eligible, we apply the two-step framework explained
`in Alice.” Koninklijke KPN N.V. v. Gemalto M2M GmbH,
`942 F.3d 1143, 1149 (Fed. Cir. 2019) (citation omitted). In
`the first step, we “determine whether the claims at issue
`are directed to a patent-ineligible concept” such as an ab-
`stract idea. Alice, 573 U.S. at 218. If the claims are not
`directed to an abstract idea, the claims are patent eligible.
`If the claims are directed to an abstract idea, we proceed to
`the second step, in which we “examine the elements of the
`claim to determine whether it contains an inventive con-
`cept sufficient to transform the claimed abstract idea into
`a patent-eligible application.” Id. at 221 (internal quota-
`tion marks omitted).
`Because the patents lack common features, we discuss
`each patent’s eligibility individually. We then address an
`issue common to all three patents: the sufficiency of Drop-
`box’s factual allegations of the patents’ inventiveness.
`The ’505 patent, entitled “Secure Delivery of Infor-
`mation in a Network,” was filed on March 4, 1998, and
`claims priority from March 1997 provisional applications.
`’505 Patent, cover sheet. The district court found the ’505
`patent “generally relate[d] to data security” and “specifi-
`cally directed to ‘providing only as much authentication


`Case: 19-1765 Document: 48 Page: 5 Filed: 06/19/2020
`and encryption security as is required for a given user, a
`given path through the network [to a given information re-
`source], and a given [information] resource.’” Dropbox, 371
`F. Supp. 3d at 675 (quoting ’505 Patent at col. 5 l. 67–col. 6
`l. 3) (alterations in original).
`The district court found independent claim 1 repre-
`sentative, id. at 694; claim 1 recites
`1. Apparatus that provides an information resource
`in response to a request from a user, the request
`including an identification of the user according to
`a mode of identification and the apparatus com-
`access control information including
`a sensitivity level associated with the resource and
`a trust level associated with the mode of identifica-
`tion; and
`an access checker which permits the apparatus to
`provide the resource only if the trust level for the
`mode of identification is sufficient for the sensitiv-
`ity level of the resource.
`’505 Patent at col. 49 ll. 2–13. Dropbox argues on appeal
`that the district court should have separately considered
`the eligibility of dependent claim 8, Appellants’ Br. 37–38;
`claim 8 recites
`8. The apparatus set forth in any one of claims 1
`through 4 wherein:
`the access request is transferred via a path in a net-
`work; and
`the access control information further includes
`a path trust level associated with the path and
`an encryption trust level associated with an en-
`cryption method,


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`the access checker further permitting the appa-
`ratus to provide the resource only if either the path
`trust level is sufficient for the sensitivity level or
`the access request has been encrypted with an en-
`cryption method whose encryption trust level is
`sufficient for the sensitivity level.
`’505 Patent at col. 49 ll. 54–67.
`The district court found claim 1 representative because
`“all the claims are substantially similar in that they are
`apparatus claims for a device providing data security asso-
`ciated with a user in response to a request for data from
`the user.” Dropbox, 371 F. Supp. 3d at 695. The court re-
`jected Dropbox’s arguments that claim 8 has distinctive de-
`tails because “[c]laim 8 is encapsulated in claim 1’s
`requirement that the access checker allow access to a data
`resource only if prerequisite security levels are met.” Id.
`On the merits, the district court held that claim 1 was
`directed to “(1) associating a security level with a data re-
`source, (2) associating a security level with a mode of iden-
`tification of a user, and then (3) ensuring that the user’s
`security level is sufficiently high to meet the security level
`of the data resource to access the data resource.” Id. Such
`a focus constituted an abstract idea because “the claim does
`not provide any limits that curb how the apparatus per-
`forms these functions” and “invokes computers merely as
`tools to execute fundamental data access control princi-
`ples,” “fall[ing] squarely within the [abstract] category of
`controlling access to data.” Id. at 696. The district court
`then found that claim 1 lacked an inventive concept be-
`cause it claimed generic elements, in “purely functional
`terms,” to “implement the abstract idea.” Id. at 698–99.
`Whether we consider claim 1 alone, or both claim 1 and
`claim 8, we agree with the district court that the claims of
`the ’505 patent are ineligible. Both claim 1 and claim 8 are
`directed to abstract ideas. “At step one of the Alice frame-
`work, we ‘look at the focus of the claimed advance over the


`Case: 19-1765 Document: 48 Page: 7 Filed: 06/19/2020
`prior art to determine if the claim’s character as a whole is
`directed to excluded subject matter.’” Koninklijke, 942
`F.3d at 1149 (quoting Affinity Labs of Tex., LLC v.
`DIRECTV, LLC, 838 F.3d 1253, 1257 (Fed. Cir. 2016)).
`Claim 1 and claim 8’s claimed advance, the “access
`checker” element, see Appellants’ Br. 24, offers nothing but
`a functional abstraction. The specification—which refers
`not to an “access checker,” but to an “access filter” to per-
`form access checking—does little to instead define this ab-
`straction as a technological solution.
` Instead, the
`specification largely treats the “access filter” as a black box.
`E.g., ’505 Patent at col. 2 l. 55–60 (describing the access
`filter as “a set of software and hardware components in the
`computer system which checks all requests from outside
`the internal network for information stored inside the in-
`ternal network and only sends a request on into the inter-
`nal network if it is from a source[] that has the right to
`access the information”). The technical aspects of the ac-
`cess filter, where present, are discussed only in terms of
`non-limiting embodiments. This is not enough to modify
`the focus of the claims. “[W]hen analyzing patent eligibil-
`ity, reliance on the specification must always yield to the
`claim language in identifying [the] focus [of those claims].”
`ChargePoint, 920 F.3d at 766.
`Claim 8’s additional elements of a “path in a network,”
`a “path trust level,” and an “encryption trust level” redirect
`the focus of the claims towards a technological problem.
`But the claims still recite no technological solution. The
`access checker “black box” just considers additional factors.
`See, e.g., ’505 Patent at col. 19 ll. 37–50. “Improving secu-
`rity . . . can be a non-abstract computer-functionality im-
`provement if done by a specific technique that departs from
`earlier approaches to solve a specific computer problem.”
`Ancora Techs., Inc. v. HTC Am., Inc., 908 F.3d 1343, 1348
`(Fed. Cir. 2018), as amended (Nov. 20, 2018) (emphasis
`added). This is not a “specific technique” for improving a


`Case: 19-1765 Document: 48 Page: 8 Filed: 06/19/2020
`computer, but a change in the abstraction providing the
`fundamental principles for access filters.
`Dropbox makes much of passages in the specification
`asserting that the ’505 patent solved a technological prob-
`lem. But that is not enough. The patent has to describe
`how to solve the problem in a manner that encompasses
`something more than the “principle in the abstract.” See
`ChargePoint, 920 F.3d at 769 (explaining that an invention
`may not be patent eligible if the “claims ‘were drafted in
`such a result-oriented way that they amounted to encom-
`passing the ‘principle in the abstract’ no matter how imple-
`mented’” (quoting Interval Licensing LLC v. AOL, Inc., 896
`F.3d 1335, 1343 (Fed. Cir. 2018))); see also Finjan, Inc. v.
`Blue Coat Sys., Inc., 879 F.3d 1299, 1305 (Fed. Cir. 2018)
`(“[A] result, even an innovative result, is not itself patent-
`able.”). And, that solution has to be evident from the
`claims. See ChargePoint, 920 F.3d at 766.
`Moving to step two, neither claim 1 nor claim 8 recites
`an inventive concept that would render its subject matter
`patent eligible. The district court’s findings on claim 1—
`that it recites conventional elements in a purely functional
`manner, without implementation detail even in the speci-
`fication, see Dropbox, 371 F. Supp. 3d at 698—apply to
`claim 8 with equal force. The additional elements of “path
`trust level” and “encryption trust level” in claim 8 merely
`provide additional criteria for the “access checker” to con-
`sider. Cf. id. at 695 (holding claim 1 representative of claim
`8 because “[c]laim 8 similarly requires performance of the
`same basic process and is linked to the same idea as claim 1
`because claim 8 discloses the access checker restricting ac-
`cess to the data resource based on the path the resource
`takes through the network [and the encryption level]”).
`When implemented, these elements may well provide a
`more “economically secure way to transmit data to a user
`over a network.” Appellants’ Br. 42. The problem here,
`compared to the patents in BASCOM and Amdocs, arises


`Case: 19-1765 Document: 48 Page: 9 Filed: 06/19/2020
`from the manner in which the patent claims the “inventive
`concept.” See BASCOM Glob. Internet Servs. v. AT&T Mo-
`bility LLC, 827 F.3d 1341 (Fed. Cir. 2016); Amdocs (Isr.)
`Ltd. v. Openet Telecom, Inc., 841 F.3d 1288 (Fed. Cir. 2016).
`Our cases have consistently held that an “inventive con-
`cept” exists when a claim “recite[s] a specific, discrete im-
`plementation of the abstract idea” where the “particular
`arrangement of elements is a technical improvement over
`[the] prior art.” BASCOM, 827 F.3d at 1350. This focus on
`specificity dovetails with concerns about preemption. See
`Amdocs, 841 F.3d at 1306 (finding claims eligible at step
`two because “they describe a specific, unconventional tech-
`nological solution, narrowly drawn to withstand preemp-
`tion concerns, to a technological problem”). Claims 1 and 8
`of the ’505 patent, when read in light of the specification,
`do not withstand this requirement for a specific, discrete
`implementation of the abstract idea. At best, the claims
`recite the application of an abstract idea using conven-
`tional and well-understood techniques specified in broad,
`functional language. But we have held that the abstract
`idea to which a claim is directed cannot supply the in-
`ventive concept, and, moreover, if a claim amounts to
`merely “the application of an abstract idea using conven-
`tional and well-understood techniques, the claim has not
`been transformed into a patent-eligible application of the
`abstract idea.” BSG Tech LLC v. Buyseasons, Inc., 899
`F.3d 1281, 1290–91 (Fed. Cir. 2018).
`We therefore affirm the district court’s decision holding
`the ’505 patent invalid as ineligible under § 101.
`The ’399 patent, entitled “File Upload Synchroniza-
`tion,” was filed on August 28, 1997, and issued May 2, 2000.
`’399 Patent, cover sheet. The district court found the pa-
`tent “directed to combining the user interface of an inter-
`active connection, like a website, with a file upload
`connection, such as an FTP (file transfer protocol)


`Case: 19-1765 Document: 48 Page: 10 Filed: 06/19/2020
`connection” or “[i]n layman’s terms . . . combining a user-
`friendly website interface with a file upload connection so
`that users who are not tech-savvy can easily upload data to
`a service provider.” Dropbox, 371 F. Supp. 3d. at 673–74.
`The district court found claims 1, 25, 43, and 46 representa-
`tive. Id. at 675 n.1. On appeal, Dropbox focuses on only
`claims 1 and 25. See, e.g., Appellants’ Br. 51, 54. Claim 1
`1. A method of synchronizing an interactive connec-
`tion and a non-interactive data transfer connection
`between a client and a service provider, compris-
`creating an interactive connection;
`creating a data transfer connection; and
`generating a single session ID for the two connec-
`tions, which ID associates between the two connec-
`’399 Patent at col. 11 ll. 58–64. Claim 25 recites
`25. Apparatus for uploading data files, comprising:
`a file upload connection server;
`an interactive connection server; and
`a synchronizer which synchronizes the operation of
`respective connections formed by the file upload
`connection server and by the interactive connection
`Id. at col. 13 ll. 19–24.
`The district court found claim 1 “simple” and directed
`to “the abstract idea of exchanging data using a computer,”
`in part because claim 1 recites elements in only “very
`broad, functional terms.” Dropbox, 371 F. Supp. 3d. at 687.
`According to the court, the patent’s claimed advance—gen-
`erating a single session ID linking the interactive


`Case: 19-1765 Document: 48 Page: 11 Filed: 06/19/2020
`connection and the data transfer connection—“is simply a
`label by which the connections are identified[,] . . . hardly
`a specific improvement on computer functionality or a
`nongeneralized computer activity” but “the well-known
`and abstract concept of data recognition.” Id. at 688. The
`court found that, although claim 25 “tacks onto” claim 1 a
`“synchronizer” limitation, the limitation recites only “the
`process of identifying the data exchanged[,] . . . an abstract
`idea involving the recognition of data.” Id. at 688–89. The
`court further held that the claims’ elements did not provide
`an inventive concept individually or in combination. Id.
`at 690–91.
`We again agree with the district court’s analysis.
`Claims 1 and 25 are directed to an abstract idea. Dropbox
`has conceded the abstract character of all claimed elements
`except the limitations of (1) the “generating a single ses-
`sion ID for the two connections, which ID associates be-
`tween the two connections” step in claim 1, and (2) the
`“synchronizer which synchronizes the operation of respec-
`tive connections formed by the file upload connection
`server and by the interactive connection server” element in
`claim 25. Dropbox alleges that the district court ignored
`the “importance of the specifically disclosed synchroniza-
`tion process between, for example, a WWW session and an
`FTP session, which enabled large uploads to take place in
`a secure and user-friendly manner.” Appellants’ Br. 48–
`Whatever result the patent attributes to the synchro-
`nizer and session ID matters little because the ’399 patent
`claims its improvements in an abstract manner. To be pa-
`tent eligible, software inventions must make “non-abstract
`improvements to existing technological processes and com-
`puter technology.” Koninklijke, 942 F.3d at 1150 (empha-
`sis added). To claim a technological solution to a
`technological problem, the patent must actually claim the
`technological solution. Neither a single session ID associ-
`ating between the two connections nor a synchronizer


`Case: 19-1765 Document: 48 Page: 12 Filed: 06/19/2020
`synchronizing the operation amount to a non-abstract im-
`provement—that is, a technological solution. “The ‘novelty’
`of any element or steps in a process, or even of the process
`itself, is of no relevance in determining whether the subject
`matter of a claim falls within the § 101 categories of possi-
`bly patentable subject matter.” Diamond v. Diehr, 450 U.S.
`175, 188–89 (1981).
`Nothing in the claims—or the specification’s definition
`of the claimed elements—delineates the session ID or the
`synchronizer in a manner providing a specific technique for
`how these “combin[e] the advantages of the FTP and WWW
`sessions while avoiding their respective drawbacks,” as
`Dropbox suggests. Appellants’ Br. 24. Instead, the claims
`and written description relate to the functional result of
`the claimed abstractions. See, e.g., ’399 Patent at col. 3.
`ll. 38–42 (“In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the
`service provider includes a synchronizing process which
`supplies the unique session ID and synchronizes the oper-
`ation of the FTP server and the WWW server.” (emphasis
`added)), col. 4 ll. 34–37 (“Preferably, said synchronizer
`generates a single session ID for two associated sessions,
`each on a different one of said servers.”). Even if it did pro-
`vide meaningful detail, “a specification full of technical de-
`tails about a physical invention may nonetheless conclude
`with claims that claim nothing more than the broad law or
`abstract idea underlying the claims, thus preempting all
`use of that law or idea.” ChargePoint, 920 F.3d at 769.
`Nor do claims 1 or 25 recite an inventive concept. Ac-
`cording to Dropbox, the ’399 patent describes a result of an
`“unconventional hybrid creation: one that combined the ad-
`vantages of prior-art technologies without their disad-
`vantages.” Appellants’ Br. 53. But the ’399 patent does not
`meaningfully claim or even describe this “hybrid creation.”
`Dropbox does not point to anything in the patent—much
`less the claims—that shows how the “single session ID” or
`“synchronizer” embody this purported inventive concept
`rather than the application of the abstract “synchronizer”


`Case: 19-1765 Document: 48 Page: 13 Filed: 06/19/2020
`and “session ID” to otherwise routine and conventional
`technology. Just like with the ’505 patent, the claims
`merely apply an abstract idea using conventional and well-
`understood techniques; such claims do not contain an in-
`ventive concept at step two. See, e.g., BSG Tech, 899 F.3d
`at 1290–91.
` We affirm the district court’s decision holding the
`’399 patent invalid as ineligible under § 101.
`The ’541 patent, entitled “System and Method for Per-
`sonal Data Backup for Mobile Customer Premises Equip-
`ment,” was filed on October 19, 2005, and claims priority
`from an October 2004 provisional application. ’541 Patent,
`cover sheet. The district court explained the ’541 patent as
`directed to “uploading and downloading data from a [mo-
`bile device, such as a cellphone, PDA, or iPod] to a server
`by way of a mobile network.” Orcinus Holdings, 379 F.
`Supp. 3d at 862. The parties agree independent claim 1 is
`illustrative. See Appellants’ Br. 21–22; Appellee’s Br. 14–
`15. Claim 1 recites
`1. A method for backing up data stored on a mobile
`customer premises equipment comprising the steps
`storing data at the mobile customer premises
`formatting the data stored at the mobile customer
`premises equipment into fields by determining
`data fields, identifying which portions of said data
`correspond to a respective data field, and tagging
`said data[;]
`transmitting the data with a user ID from the mo-
`bile customer premises equipment across a mobile
`network to a server for storage;


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`retrieving said data from said server across a mo-
`bile network in response to one of an expiration of
`time and request from said mobile customer prem-
`ises equipment by transmitting said data to said
`mobile customer premises equipment; and
`transmitting said data to said mobile customer
`premises equipment by transmitting the data in
`more than one information signal and sequentially
`numbering each of said information signals.
`’541 Patent at col. 10 l. 52–col. 11 l. 4.
`According to the district court, “[c]laim 1 is straight-
`forward” and “abstract because first, it only discloses gen-
`eralized steps to carry out generic computer functions, and
`second, because there are long-standing practices analo-
`the claimed steps.”
` Orcinus Holdings,
`379 F. Supp. 3d at 874. In a short, alternative analysis, the
`district court found claim 1 abstract because it recited es-
`sentially the same process as a person manually transfer-
`ring data from one mobile device to another, with the
`person herself acting as the “server.” Id. at 878–79. In its
`longer, main analysis, the district court focused on how the
`features corresponded to generalized steps carrying out ge-
`neric computer functions. The district court pointed out
`how the specification itself declares each element of the
`claim to be a generic computer component. Id. at 874–75.
`The district court found that the patent fails to provide spe-
`cific explanations or technical details describing how it im-
`proves the functionality of the generic components; it
`therefore found claim 1 directed to an abstract idea because
`“claim 1 discloses well-known steps to be executed on ge-
`neric computing devices.” Id. at 877. The court further
`found that none of the components individually claimed an
`inventive concept because they were all concededly generic.
`Id. at 879–80. Nor, per the court, did the elements do so as
`an ordered combination, because they were arranged in a
`conventional manner. Id. at 881.


`Case: 19-1765 Document: 48 Page: 15 Filed: 06/19/2020
`We agree with the district court once more. Claim 1 is
`directed to an abstract idea. The nature of the “claimed
`advance” of the patent—which Dropbox asserts to be “a
`unified tag and data structure,” including transmitting
`data with an accompanying user ID and “remote server
`synchronization for wirelessly backing up data,” Appel-
`lants’ Br. 20–21—reveals an abstract idea at the heart of
`claim 1. “‘[G]eneralized steps to be performed on a com-
`puter using conventional computer activity’ are abstract[.]”
`RecogniCorp, LLC v. Nintendo Co., 855 F.3d 1322, 1326
`(Fed. Cir. 2017) (quoting Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp.,
`822 F.3d 1327, 1338 (Fed. Cir. 2016)), cert. denied, 138
`S. Ct. 672 (2018). “Formatting” data, “tagging” data,
`“transmitting” data, and “retrieving” data are generalized
`steps to be performed on a computer using conventional
`computer activity. Their combination may allow “wireless
`backup of cellphone data.” Appellants’ Br. 56 (emphasis
`omitted). But the claim provides less of “a specific means
`or method” than “a result or effect that itself is the abstract
`idea and merely invokes generic processes and machinery.”
`Two-Way Media Ltd. v. Comcast Cable Commc’ns, LLC,
`874 F.3d 1329, 1337 (Fed. Cir. 2017).
`Nor do these data tagging and remote synchronization
`steps yield an inventive concept. The ’541 patent itself
`teaches that the two allegedly inventive concepts were rou-
`tine and conventional. ’541 Patent at col. 3 ll. 24–29, 34–
`36. Dropbox argues that the combination of the two con-
`cepts is inventive because “[t]he ’541 patent’s data struc-
`ture allows the data to be formatted in a way that makes
`data transfer reliable and efficient.” Appellants’ Br. 60.
`But “[t]o save a patent at step two, an inventive concept
`must be evident in the claims.” Two-Way Media, 874 F.3d
`at 1338 (emphasis added). But no data structures—much
`less any inventive data structures—are evident in the
`claims. “[F]ormatting the data . . . into fields . . . and tag-
`ging said data” as recited in claim 1 does not describe an
`inventive data structure.
` The specification


`Case: 19-1765 Document: 48 Page: 16 Filed: 06/19/2020
`contradicts Dropbox’s claim that the patent teaches an in-
`ventive data structure, explaining that the data structure
`“may be defined by a [mobile device] manufacturer,” and
`that methods known in the art (such as XML or html) “may
`be used to create the data structure.” ’541 Patent at col. 3
`ll. 36–37, col. 6 ll. 60–61.
`We affirm the district court’s decision holding the
`’541 patent invalid as ineligible under § 101.
`Dropbox argues, for all three patents, that it pled suf-
`ficient factual allegations of an inventive concept to defeat
`a motion to dismiss. The district court rejected this argu-
`ment, holding that the complaints failed to allege “fact
`questions that cannot be resolved on a Rule 12 motion” for
`all three patents. Dropbox, 371 F. Supp. 3d at 693; see id.
`at 699–700; Orcinus Holdings, 379 F. Supp. 3d at 882. The
`district court explained that “the 5 paragraphs of the
`amended complaint to which [Dropbox] cites in [its] oppo-
`sition vaguely allege how the ’505 Patent [for example] is
`an advancement over the prior art.” Dropbox, 371
`F. Supp. 3d at 699. According to the district court, Drop-
`box presented “no specific factual allegations or references
`to the [patent] specification[s]—which might disclose that
`the invention is an improvement over the prior art . . . .”
`Id. For both the ’505 and ’399 patents, the district court
`held that the unsupported factual allegations constituted
`merely “attorney arguments . . . attempting to manufac-
`ture a factual question,” and therefore were not sufficient
`to defeat a motion to dismiss. Id. at 700; see id. at 693.
`Regarding the ’541 patent, the district court also found that
`Dropbox’s attorney argument could not establish a factual
`dispute preventing dismissal “because the purported im-
`provements over the prior art have not been captured in
`the claim language.” Orcinus Holdings, 379 F. Supp. 3d at


`Case: 19-1765 Document: 48 Page: 17 Filed: 06/19/2020
`We agree with the district court that Dropbox’s com-
`plaint asserts only conclusory allegations insufficient to
`survive a motion to dismiss. Dropbox’s allegations restate
`the claim elements and append a conclusory statement
`that “nothing in the specification describes these concepts
`as well-understood, routine, or conventional.” E.g., First
`Amended Complaint ¶¶ 20–27, Dropbox, Inc. v. Syn-
`chronoss Techs., Inc., No. 5:18-cv-03685-LHK, ECF No. 49
`(N.D. Cal. Oct. 22, 2018). The allegations claim that each
`of the patents solves given technological problems, but
`never provide more support than a conclusory statement
`that “the inventions described and claimed . . . solved these
`problems,” improved the art, “represented a significant ad-
`vance over existing approaches[,] and were not well-known,
`routine, or conventional in the field” at the time of patent-
`ing. E.g., id. ¶¶ 50–51. These pleadings provide no more
`than a series of legal conclusion about the § 101 analysis.
`When considering a motion to dismiss, courts “must take
`all the factual allegations in the complaint as true”—but
`“are not bound to accept as tr

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