IP Tech Knowledgy
Software Patents Require Nuanced Drafting
The 2014 Supreme Court decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank may not have been as dire a threat to the ability to obtain a patent on software in the United States as initially predicted. Software remains patent eligible, and the contours of software patent eligibility have become clearer due to several Federal Circuit decisions since Alice Corp. Allowable claims include: (1) a combination of known software-based activities, such as content filtering, where the activities are arranged in a non-conventional manner, such as server-level filtering based on client-specific filtering preferences; (2) computer code for adding features to records in a database, when implemented in a non-conventional distributed architecture; and (3) data storage methods, where they improve a technical process in a computer, such as by improving data retrieval through self-referential tables. To take advantage of the development in the law since Alice Corp., software applicants should focus on articulating how their software specifically improves a technical process or how the arrangement of their software’s components is unconventional when compared to prior solutions in the field.