1. A system for accumulating credits from a customer account belonging to the customer and managed by an institution and placing the credits into a provider account, comprising:
an information processor; said information processor including a data store with data identifying the customer, the rounding determinant, the managed institution, and the account;
said data store including machine readable instructions authorizing the processor to access and read the customer account;
said data store including machine readable instructions to calculate rounders after receiving a plurality of payment transactions from the read customer account and to calculate an excess based on the rounders;
said data store including machine readable instructions to withdraw the excess from the customer account;
said data store including machine readable instructions to transfer the withdrawn excess to the provider account.
The boldfaced terms above address the problem resolved by the Court recently. The preamble introduces "a customer account" and "a provider account," but the information processor does something with "the account." The defendant argument is that such drafting is indefinite as it does not clearly identify what is covered.
The requirement of antecedent basis is a rule of patent drafting ..., [but] the failure to provide explicit antecedent basis for terms does not always render a claim indefinite. Energizer Holdings, Inc. v. Int'l Trade Comm'n, 435 F.3d 1366, 1370 (Fed. Cir. 2006). Instead, in "the absence of explicit antecedent basis ... [,] the scope of a claim [must] be reasonably ascertainable by those skilled in the art. Energizer Holdings, 435 F.3d at 1370 (construing Bose Corp. v. JBL, Inc., 274 F.3d 1354, 1359 (Fed. Cir. 2001)).
The patent is infested with scrivener's (and other) errors, and the prospect of a missing "s" fits comfortably within the patterns discernible in the patent. . . . These errors - which say nothing of the drafter's grammatical and syntactical incompetence and bemusing judgment - confirm that "account" lacking an "s" by mistake accords with the level of compositional adroitness and dexterity that pervades the patent.
[A] somewhat indefinite term, depending on the centrality of the term to the claim, is not necessarily equivalent to a fatally indefinite claim.
The sources for the resolution of ambiguity in a claim include resort to either or both of the specification (of which the claim is a part) and the prosecution history. The familiar decisional precedent, perennially groping for a less indefinite definition of "indefinite," requires that to invalidate a claim for "indefiniteness" the district court must determine that, clearly and convincingly and contrary to the presumption of validity, the claim is "insolubly ambiguous" and "not amenable to claim construction.
The '217 patent is a notably simple (although vexingly composed) patent that addresses a notably simple subject -- an authorized movement of money from one account to another account after a simple mathematical computation. Although the entire patent is awkwardly drafted, the oppugned claim is simple. The specification is simple. The drawings are simple. The patent as a whole, notwithstanding the deficiencies, seems understandable; the claim seems understandable. In short, the indefiniteness of the term "the account" leaves no unmanageable gap in the information available for determining the scope of the claim. No practical incapacity or disabling uncertainty appears as a consequence of the fact that "the account" might mean one thing or the other. In sum, the extent of the indefiniteness in the term "the account" is inconsequential and falls far short of the "insoluble ambiguity" required to invalidate the claim.