from the United States Court of Federal Claims in No.
1:14-cv-00513-TCW, Judge Thomas C. Wheeler.
Meredith Martin Addy, Tabet DiVito & Rothstein, LLC,
Chicago, IL, argued for plaintiff-appellant. Also represented
by Ashley Crettol Insalaco, Daniel I. Konieczny.
Paul Zager, Commercial Litigation Branch, Civil Division,
United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC, argued
for defendant-appellee. Also represented by Benjamin C.
Mizer, John J. Fargo.
Calia, Covington & Burling LLP, Redwood Shores, CA,
argued for third party defendant-appellee. Also represented
by John Arthur Kelly, Matthew Aaron Kudzin, Ranganath
Sudarshan, Washington, DC.
Jeffrey A. Lamken, MoloLamken LLP, Washington, DC, for amicus
curiae BSA | The Software Alliance. Also
represented by Michael Gregory Pattillo, Jr.
Moore, Wallach, and Stoll, Circuit Judges.
Visionix, Inc. ("TVI") appeals from the U.S. Court
of Federal Claims ("Claims Court") judgment on the
pleadings holding that claims 1-5, 11-13, 20, 22-26, 32- 34,
and 41 of U.S. Patent No. 6, 474, 159 ("'159
patent") are directed to patent-ineligible subject
matter. Thales Visionix, Inc. v. United States, 122
Fed.Cl. 245, 257 (2015). We reverse the Claims
Court's determination for all claims and remand
for further proceedings.
'159 patent discloses an inertial tracking system for
tracking the motion of an object relative to a moving
reference frame. '159 patent at 1:54-56. Inertial
sensors, such as accelerometers and gyroscopes, measure the
specific forces associated with changes in a sensor's
position and orientation relative to a known starting
position. Such sensors are used in a wide variety of
applications, including aircraft navigation and virtual
reality simulations. When mounted on a moving object,
inertial sensors can calculate the position, orientation, and
velocity of the object in 3-dimensional space, based on a
specified starting point, without the need for any other
external information. Because small errors in the measurement
of acceleration and angular velocity translate to large
errors in position over time, inertial systems generally
include at least one other type of sensor, such as an optical
or magnetic sensor, to intermittently correct these errors
that compound over time.
patent disclosure recognized that conventional solutions for
tracking inertial motion of an object on a moving platform
were flawed because both object- and platform-based inertial
sensors measured motion relative to earth, and the
error-correcting sensors on the tracked object measured
position relative to the moving platform. Id. at
1:23-42. Attempting to fuse this data produced inconsistent
position information when the moving platform accelerated or
inertial sensors disclosed in the '159 patent do not use
the conventional approach of measuring inertial changes with
respect to the earth. Id. at 7:12-23. Instead, the
platform (e.g., vehicle) inertial sensors directly measure
the gravitational field in the platform frame. Id.
at 7:12-49, fig. 3D. The object (e.g., helmet) inertial
sensors then calculate position information relative to the
frame of the moving platform. Id. at 7:41-67,
8:1-17, fig. 3D. By changing the reference frame, one can
track the position and orientation of the object within the
moving platform without input from a vehicle attitude
reference system or calculating orientation or position of
the moving platform itself. Id. at 8:34-41.
are multiple advantages of the disclosed system over the
prior art. First, it increases the accuracy with which
inertial sensors measure the tracked object on the moving
frame. Id. at 11:31-34. When the moving platform
accelerates or turns, the inertial sensor on the platform
directly measures the gravitational effect in the moving
reference frame and the system therefore requires fewer
measured inputs (and fewer points of potential error) to
determine the position and orientation of the tracked object.
Id. at 8:34-37. Second, the disclosed system can
operate independently, without requiring other hardware on
the moving platform that determine the orientation or
position of the moving ...