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Federal Circuit Confirms Software Patent Eligibility

Jim Ruttler, Patent Attorney

Posted Sunday, May 15, 2016 by Jim Ruttler

Ever since the Supreme Court Alice decision, the Patent Office and the lower level District Courts have been over-reaching and invalidating software related patents. Now for the second time, the Federal Circuit has taken the lower courts to task by confirming that software continues to be eligible.

In Enfish v. Microsoft, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower district court’s finding that Enfish’s database claims were ineligible and invalid. Instead, the Appeals Court found that the self-referential database claimed in Enfish was clearly the type of subject matter that remains eligible as compared to business method type claims.

The Court reasoned that software that improves the functionality of a computing device is different than a business method that is implemented on a computer. Thus, the former types of inventions remain patentable, which is very good news for patent owners and inventors worried about the Alice decision.

Patent law is stabilizing with this decision and 2016 will likely mark a continued strengthening of patent rights for technical inventions.

http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/15-1244.Opinion.5-10-2016.1.PDF

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