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https://patents.google.com/patent/US7739231B2/en?oq=US-11960557-B2

US7739231B2

Let's look at the first claim:


A computer-based people matching method comprising:

determining the expected level of interest by a first party for a second party based, at least in part, on a computer-generated inference of non-explicitly indicated preferences from a plurality of behaviors corresponding to a plurality of usage behavior categories;

determining the expected level of interest by the second party for the first party based, at least in part, on a plurality of behaviors corresponding to a plurality of usage behavior categories wherein one of the plurality of behaviors is generated through use of a mobile computing device;

determining if the level of mutual interest expressed by the parties is sufficient to reveal the expression of mutual interest to the parties; and

revealing to the parties the expression of mutual interest.


This to me sounds like an idea. It doesn't provide implementation details of how the level of interest is actually inferred based on user usage data. It doesn't provide implementation details of how to determine what level is sufficient.

This to me does not meet the enablement requirements?

What is your opinion on how and why this application was granted as is?

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    There is quite a lot in the specification. I'm not in the mood to read it all, but the claims are interpreted by what is taught in the spec. When you see the term "inference" you need to see what is taught with respect to that term. It might (or might not) be quite specific.
    – Eric S
    Commented Apr 29 at 22:59
  • But the claim of matching based on the general idea of inferred interest based on user usage of the app is so broad that pretty much every dating app would infringe? Commented Apr 29 at 23:30
  • Where are the "specifications", or "specs", located in the application? Commented Apr 29 at 23:31
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    "It doesn't provide implementation details of how to determine what level is sufficient." This is generally not a significant blocker. Imagine you have a magic oracle that tells you a level of interest in floating point between 0 and 1. It is trivial to determine, through a process of calibration, a threshold level of interest somewhere between not producing matches and spamming everyone. The hard part of how the oracle works is indeed somewhat glossed over in the main independent claim. Note that this patent was granted before the Alice decision, so it could well not meet that standard.
    – bhuff36
    Commented Apr 30 at 2:56
  • Pretty much everything other than the claims is considered the specification.
    – Eric S
    Commented Apr 30 at 3:00

2 Answers 2

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This to me does not meet the enablement requirements?

You are on to something here with the enablement. In their greed patent applicants frequently chase claims that are so broad that they are essentially impossible to substantially enable throughout their entire scope.

For example, in this instance, if the claim is interpreted not to be limited to any particular inference method, and we accept that such inference methods are not merely a class of structures that are well known in the art, then the specification must enable every possible inference method for the claim to be valid (whereas in fact AFAICT it is explained nowhere in the specification how inference is actually performed - the specification merely lists possible inputs to the inference process; including, quite fancifully, even MRI images of the users' brains).

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There is no way to determine enablement from the text of a claim. A claim defines the perimeter of the rights, it goes not explain an invention.

The specification and drawings are cold in gene invention. Claims that define the definition in a general manner give the patent owner more breadth as long as the rest of the document provides enablement.

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