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Functional Media, LLC v. Google Inc

One of the challenges presented by software patents asserted by patent trolls is determining what the patent covers. Often times the invention is described in nomenclature that is difficult to decipher. A recent case in involving advertising patents may force patent applicants to describe their invention with particularity and assist in invalidating unduly vague patents.

According to 4A's patent attorneys at Venable LLP, the court determined that the patent claim is indefinite. The patent “does not describe the means or steps taken to accomplish the end result,” and “is merely a black box that accomplishes the claimed function.” “Simply disclosing software … ‘without providing some detail about the means to accomplish the function[,] is not enough.’” The algorithm for performing the transmitting function must be disclosed.However, in this case there is no specific algorithm disclosed in any form. No explanation of how the software performs the function is provided.

Venable's Jeffri Kaminski note, perhaps this is the start of a trend of the courts taking a hardened stance on vague software patents. To read more about the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruling Download FM v Google or visit PatentlyO

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