Federal Circuit Holds that the Term “…user identification module configured to control access of…” is Indefinite Because the Specification Lacks a Corresponding Algorithm

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in Rain Computing Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. et al., Nos. 2020-1646, 2020-1656 (Fed. Cir. March 2, 2021), reversed the D. Mass. court’s ruling that a computer-readable medium or storage device provides sufficient structure to support the means-plus-function term “user identification module configure to control access.” The Court held that the act of “controlling access” could not be accomplished by a general-purpose computer and memory without some specialized software, such as an algorithm. Because the specification lacked any description of an algorithm for controlling access, the claim term was held to be indefinite and invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 112 ¶ 2.

The Court’s opinion may be found at http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/20-1646.OPINION.3-2-2021_1741285.pdf