INTERVAL LICENSING LLC v. AOL, INC., decided July 20, 2018

U.S. Patent No. 6,788,314, directed to presentation of extra information in an unused portion of a display screen.  The claim recited accessing, scheduling, and displaying information are conventional and do not define how the display is segregated (page 3).  The claim limitations are directed to enabling acquisition of content and control over when to display (page 7).  The specification even describes the instructions as “generic” and does not detail how to avoid overlapping display (pages 7-9).  There is no teaching of a specific improvement of the way the computer operates (pages 15-16).  The claim merely recites the desired result without limitation on how to get the result (page 16).  The claims are directed to displaying in unused portion of the screen, yet do not recite how that is done (pages 16-17).  The claims do not provide a solution to a problem unique to computer technology (pages 19-20).

Hindsight: Avoid characterizing any of the acts as generic or conventional.  This form language should be directed to how to program, not the resulting program.  The claims should include the “how,” which should be directed to the goal or purpose.  The “how” should be detailed in the specification as well.  While this may result in narrower claims, narrower claims may be better than no patent.