The Federal Circuit affirmed the invalidity of claims to methods of creating real estate inventment instruments in Fort Properties, Inv. v. American Master Lease, LLC.
Claim 1 of U.S. Patent No. 6,292,788 recites:
A method of creating a real estate investment instrument adapted for performing tax-deferred exchanges comprising:
aggregating real property to form a real estate portfolio;
encumbering the property in the real estate portfolio with a master agreement; and
creating a plurality of deedshares by dividing title in the real estate portfolio into a plurality of tenant-in-common deeds of at least one predetermined denomination, each of the plurality of deedshares subject to a provision in the master agreement for reaggregating the plurality of tenant-in-common deeds after a specified interval.
The other claims were similar, although claim 32 included the additional limitation that the step of generating a plurality of deedshares was performed by a computer.
The court held these claims were directed to an abstract concept and that the claims were very similar to the claims at issue in Bilski.
The court performed additional analysis of claims that include the requirement that certain steps be performed by a computer. The court relied on CyberSource and several other precedents in holding these claims to also be invalid under § 101. The broad and general limitation of “using a computer” does not “impose meaningful limits on the claim’s scope.” The computer limitation is simply the addition of insignificant post-solution activity to method claims that are directed to an abstract concept.
Thus, all claims of the ’788 patent are invalid as not directed to patentable subject matter.