Before Dyk, Wallach, and Taranto. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington
Summary: Claims directed to improving computer security by using BIOS memory to store a license can be a non-abstract computer-functionality improvement if done by a specific technique that departs from earlier approaches to solve a specific computer problem.
The district court granted HTC’s motion to dismiss, concluding that the claims are directed to, and ultimately claim no more than, an abstract idea using generic computer hardware for their intended purposes.
The Federal Circuit reversed, finding that the claims are not directed to ineligible subject matter, but to a solution to a computer-functionality problem under Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp., 822 f .3d 1327 (Fed. Cir. 2016), and related authorities. The Court found that the claimed advance relies on specific and unique characteristics of certain aspects of the BIOS that the patent asserts were not previously used in the way now claimed, and the result is a beneficial reduction of the risk of hacking.