On May 19, 2016, the USPTO issued an update to patent examiners on patent eligibility regarding the Federal Circuit's decision in Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp. and TLI Communications LLC v. A.V. Automotive, LLC. In Enfish, the Federal Circuit held that a claimed database software designed as a specific database structure (a "self-referential table") is patent eligible because the claims are directed to a specific solution to a problem in the software arts and improve the way a computer stores and retrieves data in its memory. In contrast, the Federal Circuit in TLI Communications found claims directed to the steps of recording, administration and archiving of digital images to be abstract ideas as claims described generalized steps to be performed on a computer using conventional computer activity and not directed to a specific improvement to computer functionality. The court explained that the specification (1) does not describe any new apparatus; (2) fails to provide any technical details; and (3) generally describes in purely functional terms the system and methods.
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