In Ancora Technologies, Inc. v. HTC America, Inc., No. 2018-1404 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 16, 2018), the Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s finding that the claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,411,941 were directed to patent ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

The ’941 patent is directed to limiting a computer’s running of unauthorized software using Basic Input Output System (BIOS) memory. Ancora sued HTC, alleging infringement of the ’941 patent. HTC moved to dismiss on the ground that the claims of the ’941 patent were directed to patent ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The district court granted HTC’s motion. Ancora appealed.

The Federal Circuit reversed. The court analyzed claim 1 as representative, holding that it was not directed to an abstract idea and therefore patent eligible under Alice step one. The court found that the ’941 patent claimed a “specific technique that departs from earlier approaches” by using a computer’s BIOS to improve security. The court explained that the claims “addresse[d] a technological problem with computers: vulnerability of license-authorization software to hacking” and are patent eligible. Accordingly, the Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s judgment and remanded the case.