Eppenauer Quoted on Impact of Enfish v Microsoft on Software Patents

Shook, Hardy & Bacon Seattle Managing Partner Bart Eppenauer discusses why Enfish v. Microsoft is a positive development for software patent owners in a May 30 Intellectual Asset Management blog post, “After So Much 101 Gloom Enfish is a Major Step in the Right Direction, Says Former Microsoft Chief Patent Counsel.”

Enfish v. Microsoft examines the patentability of software. While the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, initially found Enfish’s claims too abstract—describing the software as “the concept of organizing information using tabular formats”—the Federal Circuit Court reversed the District Court’s grant of summary judgment under Section 101 and stated that the claims on appeal are patent eligible because “the plain focus of the claims is on an improvement to computer functionality itself.”  

Eppenauer expresses that, through the Enfish decision, it has been made extremely clear that software is within the domain of patent eligibility and highlights language from the Federal Court’s ruling to that effect: “Much of the advancement made in computer technology consists of improvement to software that, by their very nature, may not be defined by particular physical features but rather by logical structures and processes.”

Eppenauer closes, “And while it’s far too early to declare victory, Enfish is certainly a welcome decision for software patent owners.”