Case: 20-1543 Document: 68 Page: 1 Filed: 08/12/2021
`United States Court of Appeals
`for the Federal Circuit
`Appeal from the United States District Court for the
`Northern District of California in No. 5:13-cv-01317-EJD,
`Judge Edward J. Davila.


`Case: 20-1543 Document: 68 Page: 2 Filed: 08/12/2021
`Appeal from the United States District Court for the
`Northern District of California in No. 5:13-cv-01356-EJD,
`Judge Edward J. Davila.
`Appeal from the United States District Court for the
`Northern District of California in No. 5:13-cv-01358-EJD,
`Judge Edward J. Davila.
`Decided: August 12, 2021
`LAWRENCE MILTON HADLEY, Glaser Weil Fink Howard
`Avchen & Shapiro LLP, Los Angeles, CA, argued for plain-
` Also represented by JOEL LANCE
`THOLLANDER, McKool Smith, PC, Austin, TX.
` CYNTHIA D. VREELAND, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale
`and Dorr LLP, Boston, MA, argued for all defendants-ap-
`pellees. Defendants-appellees EMC Corporation, VMware,
`Inc. also represented by JONATHAN COX, PETER M.


`Case: 20-1543 Document: 68 Page: 3 Filed: 08/12/2021
`BEWLEY, Washington, DC.
` MATTHIAS A. KAMBER, Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP,
`San Francisco, CA, for defendants-appellees Google LLC,
`YouTube, LLC. Also represented by DAN L. BAGATELL, Per-
`kins Coie LLP, Hanover, NH.
` HEIDI LYN KEEFE, Cooley LLP, Palo Alto, CA, for de-
`fendant-appellee Facebook, Inc. Also represented by
` ______________________
`Before LOURIE, PROST*, and REYNA, Circuit Judges.
`PROST, Circuit Judge.
`PersonalWeb Technologies appeals a decision by the
`United States District Court for the Northern District of
`California granting judgment on the pleadings for appel-
`lees Google LLC, YouTube, LLC, Facebook Inc., EMC Cor-
`poration, and VMware, Inc. That decision held various
`claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,802,310 (“the ’310 patent”),
`6,415,280 (“the ’280 patent”), and 7,949,662 (“the ’662 pa-
`tent”) ineligible for patenting, and therefore invalid, under
`35 U.S.C. § 101.1 PersonalWeb Techs. LLC v. Google LLC,
`No. 5:13-CV-01317, 2020 WL 520618, at *14 (N.D. Cal.
`Jan. 31, 2020). We affirm.
`* Circuit Judge Sharon Prost vacated the position of
`Chief Judge on May 21, 2021.
`1 The claims are: ’310 patent claims 24, 32, 81, 82,
`and 86; ’280 patent claims 15, 16, 31, and 32; and ’662 pa-
`tent claim 33.


`Case: 20-1543 Document: 68 Page: 4 Filed: 08/12/2021
`PersonalWeb’s asserted patents, which share a specifi-
`cation and drawings, claim priority from an application
`filed in 1995. We assume general familiarity with the pa-
`tented subject matter, as we have discussed the ’310 patent
`in prior opinions.2 See Pers. Web Techs., LLC v. Apple, Inc.,
`848 F.3d 987 (Fed. Cir. 2017); PersonalWeb Techs., LLC v.
`Apple, Inc., 917 F.3d 1376 (Fed. Cir. 2019). In brief, the
`patents relate to data-processing systems that assign each
`data item a substantially unique name that depends on the
`item’s content—a content-based identifier. ’310 patent
`col. 1 l. 44–col. 2 l. 5, col. 3 ll. 50–58, col. 6 ll. 20–24. These
`identifiers are generated by a mathematical algorithm,
`such as a cryptographic hash or “message digest” function.
`Id. at col. 12 l. 21–col. 13 l. 9. The identifier changes when
`the data item’s content changes. Id. at col. 35 ll. 55–63.
`The patents claim using such identifiers to perform various
`data-management functions. Claim 24 of the ’310 patent,
`for example, sets forth a method for using content-based
`identifiers to control access to data. The method generally
`proceeds in three steps: (1) receiving a request containing
`a content-based identifier for a data item, (2) comparing
`the content-based identifier to a plurality of values, and
`(3) granting or disallowing access to the data item based on
`the comparison:
`24. A computer-implemented method implemented
`at least in part by hardware comprising one or
`more processors, the method comprising:
`(a) using a processor, receiving at a first computer
`from a second computer, a request regarding a par-
`ticular data item, said request including at least a
`2 For simplicity, all citations to the shared specifica-
`tion are to the ’310 patent.


`Case: 20-1543 Document: 68 Page: 5 Filed: 08/12/2021
`content-dependent name for the particular data
`item, the content-dependent name being based, at
`least in part, on at least a function of the data in
`the particular data item, wherein the data used by
`the function to determine the content-dependent
`name comprises at least some of the contents of the
`particular data item, wherein the function that was
`used comprises a message digest function or a hash
`function, and wherein two identical data items will
`have the same content-dependent name; and
`(b) in response to said request:
`(i) causing the content-dependent name of
`the particular data item to be compared to
`a plurality of values;
`(ii) hardware in combination with software
`determining whether or not access to the
`particular data item is unauthorized based
`on whether the content-dependent name of
`the particular data item corresponds to at
`least one of said plurality of values, and
`(iii) based on said determining in step (ii),
`not allowing the particular data item to be
`provided to or accessed by the second com-
`puter if it is determined that access to the
`particular data item is not authorized.
`’310 patent claim 24.
`The relevant ’280 and ’662 patent claims reflect a sim-
`ilar pattern but are geared toward different data-manage-
`ment functions. Specifically, the ’280 patent claims use
`content-based identifiers to retrieve data items, and the
`’662 patent claims use content-based identifiers to mark
`duplicate data items for deletion. E.g., ’280 patent
`claim 31; ’662 patent claim 33. The disclosed systems are
`“intended to work with an existing operating system.”
`’310 patent col. 6 ll. 25–32.


`Case: 20-1543 Document: 68 Page: 6 Filed: 08/12/2021
`PersonalWeb sued the appellees for patent infringe-
`ment in the Eastern District of Texas. After claim con-
`struction, the cases were transferred to the Northern
`District of California. That court stayed the cases pending
`resolution of several inter partes reviews (“IPRs”) at the
`Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”), which challenged
`various claims. In six IPRs filed by EMC and VMware, the
`Board held all challenged claims unpatentable (including
`’280 patent claims 26 and 38, as well as ’662 patent
`claim 30). In doing so, the Board found that using hash-
`based identifiers for data management was disclosed in the
`prior art. J.A. 3426 (addressing ’280 patent); J.A. 3462–63
`(addressing ’662 patent). We affirmed all six Board deci-
`sions. Pers. Web Techs., LLC v. EMC Corp., 612 F. App’x
`611 (Fed. Cir. 2015). The Board also held various ’310 pa-
`tent claims unpatentable in a separate IPR filed by Apple
`Inc. On appeal, we affirmed the Board’s claim construction
`but remanded for it to reassess obviousness under proper
`procedural constraints. PersonalWeb Techs., 848 F.3d
`at 994. Along the way, we noted that a prior-art reference
`“discloses a system for using content-based identifiers in
`performing file-management functions, such as backing up
`files.” Id. at 989. On review of the Board’s remand deci-
`sion, we reversed the Board’s finding that a particular lim-
`itation was inherently disclosed in the prior art, but we did
`not disturb our earlier observation that content-based
`identifiers were known. PersonalWeb, 917 F.3d at 1380–83
`(reiterating that “none of the parties disagreed” that the
`prior-art identifier “corresponded to the claimed content-
`based identifier”).
`After the stay was lifted, the appellees moved for judg-
`ment on the pleadings that the remaining asserted claims
`were ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The district court
`granted the motion. PersonalWeb, 2020 WL 520618,


`Case: 20-1543 Document: 68 Page: 7 Filed: 08/12/2021
`at *14.3 PersonalWeb appealed. We have jurisdiction un-
`der 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(1).
`The Patent Act defines patent-eligible subject matter
`as “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or
`composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement
`thereof.” 35 U.S.C. § 101. The Supreme Court has held
`that “this provision contains an important implicit excep-
`tion: [l]aws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract
`ideas are not patentable.” Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l,
`573 U.S. 208, 216 (2014) (quoting Ass’n for Molecular Pa-
`thology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., 569 U.S. 576, 589 (2013)).
`This exception reflects the “‘concern that patent law not in-
`hibit further discovery by improperly tying up the future
`use of’ these building blocks of human ingenuity.” Id.
`(quoting Mayo Collaborative Servs. v. Prometheus Labs.,
`Inc., 566 U.S. 66, 85 (2012)). To assess patent eligibility,
`we apply the two-step framework set forth in Mayo and fur-
`ther detailed in Alice. At step one, we “determine whether
`the claims at issue are directed to a patent-ineligible con-
`cept” such as an abstract idea. Alice, 573 U.S. at 218. At
`step two, “we consider the elements of each claim both in-
`dividually and as an ordered combination to determine
`whether the additional elements transform the nature of
`the claim into a patent-eligible application.” Id. at 217
`(cleaned up).
`Patent eligibility is a question of law that may involve
`underlying questions of fact. Simio, LLC v. FlexSim Soft-
`ware Prods., Inc., 983 F.3d 1353, 1358–59 (Fed. Cir. 2020).
`But “not every § 101 determination contains genuine
`3 The district court also declined to convert the mo-
`tion into one for summary judgment. PersonalWeb,
`2020 WL 520618, at *7. PersonalWeb does not challenge
`that aspect of the district court’s decision.


`Case: 20-1543 Document: 68 Page: 8 Filed: 08/12/2021
`disputes over the underlying facts material to the § 101 in-
`quiry.” Berkheimer v. HP Inc., 881 F.3d 1360, 1368
`(Fed. Cir. 2018). Indeed, that inquiry “may be, and fre-
`quently has been, resolved on a Rule 12(b)(6) or (c) motion
`where the undisputed facts, considered under the stand-
`ards required by that Rule, require a holding of ineligibility
`under the substantive standards of law.” SAP Am., Inc. v.
`InvestPic, LLC, 898 F.3d 1161, 1166 (Fed. Cir. 2018) (col-
`lecting cases). We apply the procedural law of the regional
`circuit, here the Ninth Circuit, which reviews Rule 12(c)
`motions de novo. Allergan, Inc. v. Athena Cosms., Inc.,
`640 F.3d 1377, 1380 (Fed. Cir. 2011) (citing Or. Nat. Desert
`Ass’n v. U.S. Forest Serv., 550 F.3d 778, 782 (9th Cir.
`2008)). The governing standard is “functionally identical”
`to that for a motion to dismiss. Dworkin v. Hustler Mag.
`Inc., 867 F.2d 1188, 1192 (9th Cir. 1989). The standard is
`“whether the complaint at issue contains ‘sufficient factual
`matter, accepted as true, to state a claim of relief that is
`plausible on its face.’” Harris v. Cnty. of Orange, 682 F.3d
`1126, 1131 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
`556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). We review the district court’s
`ultimate patent-eligibility conclusion de novo. Simio,
`983 F.3d at 1359.
`We start at step one. Because “all inventions embody,
`use, reflect, rest upon, or apply laws of nature, natural phe-
`nomena, or abstract ideas,” Alice, 573 U.S. at 217 (cleaned
`up), we must decide “whether that patent-ineligible con-
`cept is what the claim is ‘directed to,’” ChargePoint, Inc. v.
`SemaConnect, Inc., 920 F.3d 759, 765 (Fed. Cir. 2019)
`(quoting Thales Visionix Inc. v. United States, 850 F.3d
`1343, 1349 (Fed. Cir. 2017)). To do so, we evaluate “the
`‘focus of the claimed advance over the prior art’ to deter-
`mine if the claim’s ‘character as a whole’ is directed to ex-
`cluded subject matter.” Intell. Ventures I LLC v. Erie
`Indem. Co., 850 F.3d 1315, 1325 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (quoting
`Affinity Labs of Tex., LLC v. DIRECTV, LLC, 838 F.3d


`Case: 20-1543 Document: 68 Page: 9 Filed: 08/12/2021
`1253, 1257 (Fed. Cir. 2016)). Here, the answer is yes. The
`claims are directed to an abstract idea.
`PersonalWeb contends that the claims are directed to
`“a substantially unique, algorithm-derived, content-based
`identifier for all data items in a networked computer,
`which allows a computer within a network containing di-
`verse computing and storage systems to locate and distrib-
`ute data without knowing either the file system of any
`device within the network or the conventional name of any
`data item.” Appellant’s Br. 23. The district court, on the
`other hand, concluded that the patents are directed to a
`three-step process: “(1) using a content-based identifier
`generated from a ‘hash or message digest function,’
`(2) comparing that content-based identifier against some-
`thing else, [that is,] another content-based identifier or a
`request for data; and (3) providing access to, denying access
`to, or deleting data.” PersonalWeb, 2020 WL 520618,
`at *10. We adopt the district court’s view, which closely
`tracks the claim language. See ChargePoint, 920 F.3d
`at 769 (“[T]he § 101 inquiry must focus on the language of
`the Asserted Claims themselves . . . .” (quoting Synopsys,
`Inc. v. Mentor Graphics Corp., 839 F.3d 1138, 1149
`(Fed. Cir. 2016)); Alice, 573 U.S. at 219 (“On their face, the
`claims before us are drawn to the concept of intermediated
`settlement . . . .” (emphasis added)). The district court’s de-
`scription, for example, mirrors the progression of ’310 pa-
`tent claim 24 (reproduced above), on which PersonalWeb
`relies, Appellant’s Br. 24.
`Although PersonalWeb criticizes the district court’s
`“summary of the asserted claims into a three-step process,”
`Appellant’s Br. 31 (internal quotation marks omitted), this
`formulation is not meaningfully distinguishable from what
`PersonalWeb said in opposing the § 101 motion:
`The asserted claims all recite (1) dividing the data
`into sequences of bits, (2) calculating content-based
`identifiers using the data in the data items, . . .


`Case: 20-1543 Document: 68 Page: 10 Filed: 08/12/2021
`(3) comparing the identifiers against a plurality of
`other identifiers in the network, and (4) using the
`results to identify, access, authorize access, or
`manage the number of copies of data items within
`the network.
`. . .
`Each asserted claim recites using content-based
`values as a name or identifier for a data item: in
`the ’310 patent, to control access to data items; in
`the ’280 patent, to retrieve and deliver copies of
`data items; and in the ’662 patent, to mark copies
`of data items for deletion.
`J.A. 6572, 6581. Because we must “focus here on whether
`the claims of the asserted patents fall within the excluded
`category of abstract ideas,” we agree with the district court.
`Content Extraction & Transmission LLC v. Wells Fargo
`Bank, Nat’l Ass’n, 776 F.3d 1343, 1346 (Fed. Cir. 2014) (em-
`phasis added). We therefore conclude that the claims are
`directed to the use of an algorithm-generated content-
`based identifier to perform the claimed data-management
`functions, which across the three patents include control-
`ling access to data items (the ’310 patent), retrieving and
`delivering copies of data items (the ’280 patent), and mark-
`ing copies of data items for deletion (the ’662 patent).
`These functions are mental processes that “can be per-
`formed in the human mind” or “using a pencil and paper.”
`CyberSource Corp. v. Retail Decisions, Inc., 654 F.3d 1366,
`1371– 72 (Fed. Cir. 2011) (cleaned up) (quoting Parker v.
`Flook, 437 U.S. 584, 586 (1978))—a telltale sign of abstrac-
`tion. Appellees’ “library” example is instructive: “Librari-
`ans often locate books based on a ‘call system’ where they
`assign books unique identifiers based on call numbers,
`which change dependent on a book’s volume, etc.” Person-
`alWeb, 2020 WL 520618, at *12. Such content-based iden-
`tifiers may be used to control access to books (e.g.,
`authorize borrowing depending on book content), retrieve


`Case: 20-1543 Document: 68 Page: 11 Filed: 08/12/2021
`books (e.g., locate books on shelves based on their content),
`or purge duplicate books (e.g., discard duplicates identified
`by their content). The claims do this in a computer envi-
`ronment, but that doesn’t transfigure an idea out of the
`realm of abstraction. See BASCOM Glob. Internet Servs.,
`Inc. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, 827 F.3d 1341, 1348 (Fed. Cir.
`2016) (“An abstract idea on ‘an Internet computer network’
`. . . is still an abstract idea.”). The claims’ focus, therefore,
`is abstract. And our cases confirm this. As explained be-
`low, each component of the claims’ three-step progression
`reflects a concept we have already described as abstract.
`First is the use of a content-based identifier. We said
`that was abstract in Erie. There, we addressed claims to
`“search [a] database using an index,” in which “every rec-
`ord in the database is associated with one or more descrip-
`tive terms” organized using “category tags” for “grouping of
`similar terms” and “domain tags” for “grouping of similar
`categories.” Erie, 850 F.3d at 1326. We noted the same
`pen-and-paper analogue: “a hardcopy-based classification
`system (such as library-indexing system)” in which “classi-
`fiers organize and cross-reference information and re-
`sources (such as books, magazines, or the like) by certain
`identifiable tags, e.g., title, author, subject.” Id. at 1327.
`We similarly described content-based identifiers as ab-
`stract in Secured Mail Solutions LLC v. Universal Wilde,
`Inc., 873 F.3d 905, 910– 11 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (abstract idea
`of using a “unique identifier . . . to communicate infor-
`mation about the mail object, i.e., the sender, recipient, and
`contents of the mail object”), and Intellectual Ventures I
`LLC v. Symantec Corp., 838 F.3d 1307, 1313 (Fed. Cir.
`2016) (abstract idea of “receiving e-mail (and other data
`file) identifiers, characterizing e-mail based on the identi-
`fiers, and communicating the characterization”). The
`claims’ use of content-based identifiers, therefore, is ab-
`Generating such identifiers via a known algorithm is
`no less abstract. “[W]e have treated analyzing information


`Case: 20-1543 Document: 68 Page: 12 Filed: 08/12/2021
`by steps people go through in their minds, or by mathemat-
`ical algorithms, without more, as essentially mental pro-
`cesses within the abstract-idea category.” Elec. Power
`Grp., LLC v. Alstom S.A., 830 F.3d 1350, 1354 (Fed. Cir.
`2016) (collecting cases)). For instance, the identifiers
`claimed in Symantec were created “using a mathematical
`algorithm.” 838 F.3d at 1313. And in RecogniCorp, LLC v.
`Nintendo Co., we explained that “[a] process that started
`with data, added an algorithm, and ended with a new form
`of data was directed to an abstract idea.” 855 F.3d 1322,
`1327 (Fed. Cir. 2017). That, too, holds true here.
`Second is the step of comparing the content-based iden-
`tifier against other values. That is also abstract. For ex-
`ample, the Symantec claims required “determining . . .
`whether each received content identifier matches a charac-
`teristic of other identifiers.” 838 F.3d at 1313. There, as
`here, this is the “abstract idea of 1) collecting data[] [and]
`2) recognizing certain data within the collected data set.”
`Id. at 1314–15 (quoting Content Extraction, 776 F.3d
`at 1347). That’s a mental process.
`Third is the data-management function, which varies
`across the three patents. Each such function is abstract.
`Controlling access to data items (the ’310 patent) is ab-
`stract, as “[c]ontrolling access to resources is exactly the
`sort of process that ‘can be performed in the human mind,
`or by a human using a pen and paper,’ which we have re-
`peatedly found unpatentable.” Ericsson Inc. v. TCL
`Commc’n Tech. Holdings Ltd., 955 F.3d 1317, 1327
`(Fed. Cir. 2020) (quoting CyberSource, 654 F.3d at 1372));
`id. (noting that “[t]he idea . . . is pervasive in human activ-
`ity,” for example, “in libraries (loaning materials only to
`card-holding members)”). So is retrieving data items (the
`’280 patent). E.g., Erie, 850 F.3d at 1327 (“abstract idea of
`creating an index and using that index to search for and
`retrieve data” (internal quotation marks omitted)); Content
`Extraction, 776 F.3d at 1347 (“abstract idea of . . . collecting
`data”). So too is marking data for deletion (the ’662


`Case: 20-1543 Document: 68 Page: 13 Filed: 08/12/2021
`patent), which is just another way to “classify[] data.” Erie,
`850 F.3d at 1327; e.g., Symantec, 838 F.3d at 1314 (“[I]t was
`[a] long-prevalent practice for people . . . to look at an en-
`velope and discard certain letters . . . based on characteris-
`tics of the mail.”). These are all mental processes and are
`all abstract.
`True, the step-one inquiry “looks to the claim[s’] ‘char-
`acter as a whole’ rather than evaluating each claim limita-
`tion in a vacuum.” Ericsson, 955 F.3d at 1326 (quoting
`Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp., 822 F.3d 1327, 1335
`(Fed. Cir. 2016)). But these claims “are clearly focused on
`the combination of those abstract-idea processes.” Elec.
`Power, 830 F.3d at 1354. Stringing together the claimed
`steps by “[a]dding one abstract idea . . . to another,” Recog-
`niCorp, 855 F.3d at 1327, amounts merely to the abstract
`idea of using a content-based identifier to perform an ab-
`stract data-management function—whether controlling ac-
`cess to data, retrieving data, or marking data for deletion.
`See, e.g., Secured Mail, 873 F.3d at 911 (“[E]ach step of the
`process uses an identifier . . . to communicate information
`about a mail object.”).
`Some of our cases are particularly analogous and in-
`structive. One of the Symantec claims included three steps
`like the claims here (and in the same order): (1) “creating
`file content IDs using a mathematical algorithm,” (2) “de-
`termining . . . whether each received content identifier
`matches a characteristic of other identifiers,” and (3) “out-
`putting . . . an indication of the characteristic of the data
`file based on said step of determining.” 838 F.3d at 1313.
`Likewise, one of the Erie claims required (1) “identifying a
`first XML tag that is associated with the first term,” fol-
`lowed by (2) “determining whether a first metafile corre-
`sponds to the first XML tag,” followed by (3) several data-
`management functions, including “combining the first set
`of XML tags into a key” used to “locate records” and “de-
`liver[] the records.” 850 F.3d at 1327. There’s no relevant
`difference in the claims here. The claims as a whole, then,


`Case: 20-1543 Document: 68 Page: 14 Filed: 08/12/2021
`are directed to a medley of mental processes that, taken
`together, amount only to a multistep mental process.
`PersonalWeb asserts that the claims are not abstract
`because they offer a solution “necessarily rooted in com-
`puter technology in order to overcome a problem specifi-
`cally arising in the realm of computer networks.”
`Appellant’s Br. 24 (quoting DDR Holdings, LLC v. Ho-
`, L.P., 773 F.3d 1245, 1257 (Fed. Cir. 2014)). Not
`so. Both the solution (names based on content) and the
`problems (access to, retrieval of, and redundancy control of
`information) have long predated computers. PersonalWeb
`contends that the claims are not abstract because they
`claim “a new way of locating and distributing data in a
`computer network” that promises efficiency benefits, Ap-
`pellant’s Br. 24, but “[t]he fact that an identifier can be
`used to make a process more efficient . . . does not neces-
`sarily render an abstract idea less abstract,” Secured Mail,
`873 F.3d at 910. Here, the asserted efficiency improve-
`ments are not different in kind from those that would ac-
`crue in the library analogue—for example, using content-
`based identifiers to purge duplicate books.
`Ultimately, “the focus of the claims is not on . . . an im-
`provement in computers as tools, but on certain inde-
`pendently abstract ideas that use computers as tools.”
`Credit Acceptance Corp. v. Westlake Servs., 859 F.3d 1044,
`1055 (Fed. Cir. 2017). In other words, the claims focus on
`“mere automation of manual processes using generic com-
`puters.” Id. That fails step one.
`Onward to step two. Here we undertake “a search for
`an inventive concept—i.e., an element or combination of el-
`ements that is sufficient to ensure that the patent in prac-
`tice amounts to significantly more than a patent upon the
`ineligible concept itself.” Alice, 573 U.S. at 217–18 (cleaned
`up). According to PersonalWeb, the claims contain an in-
`ventive concept because they “recite an application that


`Case: 20-1543 Document: 68 Page: 15 Filed: 08/12/2021
`makes inventive use of cryptographic hashes—a use that
`was neither conventional nor routine prior to the patents.”
`Appellant’s Br. 12; see also id. at 38–39 (describing “using
`content-dependent cryptographic hashes in place of con-
`ventional names”). But that’s not something “more,” let
`alone anything “significantly more,” than the abstract idea
`itself. Alice, 573 U.S. at 218.
`Indeed, the purported improvements that Personal-
`Web sets forth just restate the abstract ideas discussed
`above. See Appellant’s Br. 43 (“[T]he claims of the ’310 pa-
`tent capture the improvement of using the content-based
`identifier to ‘enforce[] use of valid licenses . . . by refusing
`to provide access to a file without authorization.’” (third al-
`teration in original) (quoting ’310 patent col. 31 ll. 9–12));
`id. (“The claims of the ’280 patent capture the improve-
`ments of ‘provid[ing] transparent access to any data item
`by reference only to its identity’ and ‘verify[ing] that data
`retrieved from another location is the desired or requested
`data, using only the data identifier.’” (alterations in origi-
`nal) (quoting ’280 patent col. 4 ll. 10–45)); id. (“The claims
`of the ’662 patent capture the improvements of ‘stor[ing] at
`most one copy of the data item’ and ‘maintain[ing] a desired
`level of redundancy of data items.’” (alterations in original)
`(quoting ’662 patent col. 4 ll. 4–21)). That is all abstract.
`And even accepting PersonalWeb’s view that these partic-
`ular uses are not well-known, routine, or conventional, “[a]
`claim for a new abstract idea is still an abstract idea.” SAP,
`898 F.3d at 1163 (quoting Synopsys, 839 F.3d at 1151).
`So, “[w]hat else is there in the claims before us?” Mayo,
`566 U.S. at 78. As to the subject-matter question, not
`much. The district court had it right: there is “nothing ‘in-
`ventive’ about any claim details, individually or in combi-
`that are not
`themselves abstract
`PersonalWeb, 2020 WL 520618, at *13. The district court
`was also right that “[u]sing a generic hash function, a
`server system, or a computer does not render these claims
`non-abstract.” Id. “[O]ur precedent is clear that merely


`Case: 20-1543 Document: 68 Page: 16 Filed: 08/12/2021
`adding computer functionality to increase the speed or ef-
`ficiency of the process does not confer patent eligibility on
`an otherwise abstract idea.” Intell. Ventures I LLC v. Cap.
`One Bank (USA), 792 F.3d 1363, 1370 (Fed. Cir. 2015); e.g.,
`OIP Techs., Inc. v., Inc., 788 F.3d 1359, 1363
`(Fed. Cir. 2015) (“[R]elying on a computer to perform rou-
`tine tasks more quickly or more accurately is insufficient
`to render a claim patent eligible.”). PersonalWeb’s claims
`merely “automate or otherwise make more efficient tradi-
`tional . . . methods.” OIP, 788 F.3d at 1363. “[T]heir inno-
`vation is an innovation in ineligible subject matter.” SAP,
`898 F.3d at 1163. That fails step two.
`Last, PersonalWeb argues also that “fact questions cre-
`ated by the specification’s disclosure” made judgment on
`the pleadings “improper.” Appellant’s Br. 51 (quoting
`Berkheimer, 881 F.3d at 1370). While we agree that “the
`most relevant and dispositive evidence before the district
`court was the set of patents themselves,” Appellant’s
`Br. 50, we disagree that this could have precluded judg-
`ment on the pleadings here. “What is needed is an in-
`ventive concept in the non-abstract application realm.”
`SAP, 898 F.3d at 1168. None of PersonalWeb’s “improve-
`ments in the specification” fit that bill. Appellant’s Br. 51.
`Instead, they “lie[] entirely in the realm of abstract ideas,
`with no plausibly alleged innovation in the non-abstract
`application realm.” SAP, 898 F.3d at 1163. Judgment on
`the pleadings, therefore, was appropriate.
`We have considered PersonalWeb’s remaining argu-
`ments and find them unpersuasive. The claims are ineligi-
`ble for patenting. We therefore affirm the judgment of

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