PatentNext Summary: As a general rule, software-related patents should include an algorithm. An algorithm provides support for a software-related patent in a variety of ways, one of which is to provide support for a claim determined to be a “means-plus-function” (MPF) term pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 112(f). Without such support, an MPF term can be held invalid.
The below article provides additional details. This article forms the first part of a multi-part series.
Software inventions typically claim software-related elements such as computing instructions, module(s), package(s), component(s), or the like. These terms typically represent the source code or object code of the invention. However, when functional language follows these software-related terms, a risk arises where a court may construe such terms as means-plus-function (MPF) terms (even where the claim does not recite express “means for” or “step for” language per 35 U.S.C. § 112(f)).