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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 premium CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
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Conducted on Thursday, November 4, 2021

Recorded event now available

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This CLE course 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 has dramatically impacted 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, it is typically not enough to claim a general purpose computer as the only structure for performing a recited function. Instead, the patentee must disclose specific algorithms or other structures sufficient to perform the claimed 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 of using functional claims and offer best practices for surviving Section 112(f) and leveraging functional claims to maximize patent protection.



  1. How the courts are treating functional claiming since Williamson
  2. Functional claiming in software patents
  3. Benefits and risks involved with using functional claims
  4. Best practices for leveraging Section 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?


Kukkonen, Carl
Carl A. Kukkonen, III

Jones Day

Mr. Kukkonen has more than 20 years of experience in strategic intellectual property counseling, technology...  |  Read More

Lamberson, Jonathan
Jonathan Lamberson

White & Case

As a trial attorney, Mr. Lamberson has attended over a dozen patent jury trials in districts around the country,...  |  Read More

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