On May 12, 2016, the Federal Circuit reversed a lower court’s decision based on under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice ruling. In 2014, Judge Mariana R. Pfaelzer of the Central District of California invalidated two database patents asserted against Microsoft. The patents related to a “self-referential” database.
The suit was initiated by Enfish LLC targetting Microsoft’s .NET Framework.
Federal circuit sided with Enfish. The Federal Circuit concluded that the patents were not directed to abstract ideas, but to patent-eligible improvements in computer operations.
Enfish attorney James P. Brogan of Cooley LLP had argued, “It’s not just an abstract idea, if it changes the way a computer works, or changes the way it can actually perform, then you’re over Section 101.” He added, “The asserted claims are the antithesis of claims covering abstract ideas because they claim a specific and concrete data structure in computer memory. The claims do not simply recite an abstract idea and say ‘apply it.'”
The ruling brings in some relief to software companies which are getting battered by patent invalidations under Alice.
Federal Circuit ruling is available below: