Allocating Investment Returns In A Collective Investment Vehicle Held to be An Unpatentable Abstract Idea
The Federal Circuit affirmed the rejection of patent claims directed to the "allocation of investment returns for at least one investor in a collective investment vehicle." Mr. Greenstein argued that the invention differed from prior art investment models because the "fund may be rebalanced without having to buy or sell additional securities." This allows the investors to achieve a desired balance of risk without trading on electronic markets.
He further argued that the computer-implementation of this strategy provides an inventive concept because "use of a computer to store information and execute transactions is vastly more efficient."
The Court disagreed and found that the claims are directed to the abstract idea "of allocating returns to different investors in an investment fund. . . This is simply the automation of the fundamental economic concept."
The Court reiterated that using a computer to perform calculations more efficiently does not provide an inventive concept. And finally, the Court noted that some of Mr. Greenstein’s arguments conflated eligibility with novelty, citing Synopsys: "a claim for a new abstract idea is still an abstract idea."
You can read the entire In Re: Greenstein opinion here and representative claim 1 is pasted below.
A method for allocation of investment returns for at least one investor in a collective investment vehicle comprising the steps of:
storing personal information corresponding to the investor in a computerized database;
using at least one computer to assign an investment return to the investor which assigned return is different from the investment return assigned to at least one other investor in the collective investment vehicle;
using at least one computer to change the investment return assigned to the investor at least one time;
using at least one computer to effect at least one change to the investment returns through internal mechanisms of the collective investment vehicle which transfers returns between investors in the investment vehicle;
using at least one computer to make corresponding changes to the investment returns assigned to at least one other investor in the collective investment vehicle; and
using at least one computer to track and compute the transfers between investors in the collective investment vehicle.