Federal Circuit reaffirms that software inventions are patentable in the U.S.

May 1, 2020
Marshall Gerstein Insights

On April 30, 2020, the Federal Circuit reaffirmed that software inventions are patentable in the U.S. with a bright-line statement: "Our precedent is clear that software can make patent-eligible improvements to computer technology, and related claims are eligible as long as they are directed to non-abstract improvements to the functionality of a computer or network platform itself."

The claims-at-issue involved bluetooth communications and, importantly, were directed to an improvement in network communications, which the Federal Circuit described as demonstrating patent eligibility: "we hold the claims at issue are directed to a patent-eligible improvement to computer functionality, namely the reduction of latency experienced by parked secondary stations in communication systems."

The Federal Circuit further provided useful statements for computer-related inventions:

  • "The claimed invention’s compatibility with conventional communication systems does not render it abstract."
  • Software related inventions need not recite "physical components" ("To hold otherwise risks resurrecting a bright-line machine-or-transformation test, or creating a categorical ban on software patents.”)

Access the full case: Uniloc USA, Inc. v. LG Electronics USA, Inc.

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