Federal Circuit reaffirms that software inventions are patentable in the U.S.May 1, 2020
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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