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Perfect Web Technologies, Inc. v. InfoUSA, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
587 F.3d 1324 (Fed Cir. 2010)


Perfect Web Technologies, Inc. (Perfect Web) (plaintiff) held a patent for a system of managing the bulk distribution of e-mail. The patent claims set forth the following steps: (A) matching a target recipient profile with a group of target recipients; (B) sending a series of bulk e-mails to the target group; (C) calculating the number of successfully delivered e-mails in the series; and (D) if the calculated number did not meet a desired minimum number of successfully delivered e-mails, repeating steps (A)-(C) until reaching the prescribed number. Perfect Web brought an action against InfoUSA, Inc. (InfoUSA) (defendant). InfoUSA moved for summary judgment on the patent’s invalidity, and the district court granted InfoUSA’s motion. The district court found that a person of ordinary skill in the art of e-mail marketing held at least a high school diploma and possessed at least some experience with e-mail and computer programs. The court further found that prior art, as well as Perfect Web’s patent specification, demonstrated that steps (A)-(C) of the claim were previously known. It followed that step (D), merely repeating the earlier three steps, was simply the next logical step to take if the target quantity of successfully delivered e-mails was not reached on the first try. The district court thus concluded that Perfect Web’s patent was invalid for obviousness. Perfect Web appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Linn, J.)

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