Functional Claiming for Software Patents: Leveraging Recent Court Treatment

Surviving 112(f) and Disclosing Functional Basis for Software to Meet Heightened Standard of Review

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This CLE webinar will guide IP counsel on functional claiming in software patents and USPTO prosecution. The panel will examine recent court treatment and explain how to navigate the issue of functionality given the uncertainties in the prosecution and litigation contexts.


In Williamson v. Citrix Online, the Federal Circuit issued a decision relating to means-plus-function claims. This decision is having a dramatic impact on interpreting functional claim terms, regardless of whether claim language is subject to being construed in prosecution, post-grant challenges at the PTAB, or district court litigation.

Since Williamson, patentees must meet a heightened standard of review by sufficiently disclosing the functional basis for software. It is not enough to claim a general purpose computer as the structure performing the function. Instead, the patentee must disclose the technical algorithm that performs the stated function.

Listen as our authoritative panel of patent attorneys provides a quick review of the Williamson decision, discusses how the courts have applied the Williamson decision, and then examines functional claiming in the context of software patents. The panel will explore the benefits and risks involved with using functional claims and offer best practices for surviving §112(f) and leveraging functional claims to maximize patent protection.



  1. How the courts have applied Williamson
  2. Functional claiming in software patents
  3. Benefits and risks involved with using functional claims
  4. Best practices for leveraging §112(f) and functional claims for maximum patent protection


The panel will review these and other crucial issues:

  • What has the impact of the Williamson decision been on functional claim interpretation for software patents?
  • What are the benefits and limitations of using functional claims for software patents?
  • What are the lessons from recent decisions regarding functionality in software patents?


Bell, Cory
Cory C. Bell

Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner

Mr. Bell focuses on patent prosecution management, client counseling, post-grant practice, and litigation, with an...  |  Read More

Schultz, Christopher
Christopher S. Schultz

Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner

Mr. Schultz is a patent attorney who has litigated and counseled clients in IP law for nearly 20 years. He represents...  |  Read More

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