Apple asserted that the '260 patent claims recite "nothing more than the abstract process of detecting pressures and then providing tactile sensations in response to an 'input device.'" Apple argued that this is not patentable subject matter under Alice because it is something humans have been doing for centuries when they shake hands.
Immersion argued that the motion should be denied because the claims are directed to a computer implemented process which reflects an improvement in computer functionality itself. Immersion also argued that the claims are not directed to an abstract idea, but rather, an improvement in the functioning of a pressure-sensitive system.
ALJ Bullock denied the motion, determining that the '260 patent covers patentable subject matter under the first step in Alice, noting that the apparatus described by the patent includes a detailed input device for communicating with a user capable of resolving multiple levels of pressure, and that the apparatus also includes hardware with associated logic to detect pressure and provide sensations based on the pressures, as well as processors. The ALJ characterized the '260 patent as an improvement in computer technology rather than an abstract idea, and thus Apple's motion for summary determination that the claims of the '260 patent do not recite patentable subject matter and are invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 was denied.
Disclosure: I am/we are long IMMR.