Digest of EON Corp. IP Holdings LLC v. AT&T Mobility LLC (Fed. Cir. May 6, 2015) (precedential). On appeal from the District of Delaware. Before Prost, Newman, and Bryson.
Procedural Posture: Plaintiff appealed district court’s grant of summary judgment that all asserted patent claims were invalid as indefinite. CAFC affirmed.
- Indefiniteness / Means-Plus-Function: The asserted patent claims included numerous computer-implemented means-plus-function limitations. Generally, such a limitation requires that the specification disclose an algorithm for performing the claimed function, and it is not enough to disclose, for example, a “processor” as the corresponding structure. But where the recited function is one that can be performed by any general-purpose computer without “special programming,” an algorithm need not be disclosed. “Special programming” does not require any level of complexity and includes known, off-the-shelf software. “A microprocessor or general purpose computer lends sufficient structure only to the basic functions of a microprocessor. All other computer-implemented functions require disclosure of an algorithm.” The knowledge of a person of ordinary skill in the art cannot replace the legal requirement of disclosing an algorithm. Because the specification undisputedly did not disclose an algorithm, summary judgment of indefiniteness was appropriate.