For more than four decades, Fenwick & West LLP has helped some of the world’s most recognized companies become, and remain, market leaders. From emerging enterprises to large public corporations, our clients are leaders in the technology, life sciences and cleantech sectors and are fundamentally changing the world through rapid innovation.  MORE >

Fenwick & West was founded in 1972 in the heart of Silicon Valley—before “Silicon Valley” existed—by four visionary lawyers who left a top-tier New York law firm to pursue their shared belief that technology would revolutionize the business world and to pioneer the legal work for those technological innovations. In order to be most effective, they decided they needed to move to a location close to primary research and technology development. These four attorneys opened their first office in downtown Palo Alto, and Fenwick became one of the first technology law firms in the world.  MORE >

From our founding in 1972, Fenwick has been committed to promoting diversity and inclusion both within our firm and throughout the legal profession. For almost four decades, the firm has actively promoted an open and inclusive work environment and committed significant resources towards improving our diversity efforts at every level.  MORE >

FLEX by Fenwick is the only service created by an AmLaw 100 firm that provides flexible and cost-effective solutions for interim in-house legal needs to high-growth companies.  MORE >

Fenwick & West handles significant cross-border legal and business issues for a wide range of technology and life sciences who operate internationally..  MORE >

At Fenwick, we are proud of our commitment to the community and to our culture of making a difference in the lives of individuals and organizations in the communities where we live and work. We recognize that providing legal services is not only an essential part of our professional responsibility, but also an excellent opportunity for our attorneys to gain valuable practical experience, learn new areas of the law and contribute to the community.  MORE >

Year after year, Fenwick & West is honored for excellence in the legal profession. Many of our attorneys are recognized as leaders in their respective fields, and our Corporate, Tax, Litigation and Intellectual Property Practice Groups consistently receive top national and international rankings, including:

  • Named Technology Group of the Year by Law360
  • Ranked #1 in the Americas for number of technology deals in 2015 by Mergermarket
  • Nearly 20 percent of Fenwick partners are ranked by Chambers
  • Consistently ranked among the top 10 law firms in the U.S. for diversity
  • Recognized as having top mentoring and pro bono programs by Euromoney


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Software Patent Protection Curbed by U.S. Supreme Court

June 19, 2014

​Fenwick & West patent partner Robert Sachs was quoted in multiple articles regarding the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, a closely watched case in which the Court ruled on patent eligibility of abstract ideas.  Sachs was also interviewed by KLIV News Radio Silicon Valley on this decision and has been selected as a panelist for the Law360 Twitter Panel to discuss the Court’s IP decisions this term.

On June 19, the Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that abstract ideas are not eligible for patent protection, but, Sachs said, the Court did not go so far as to define what constitutes an abstract idea. 

“This Court continues to avoid making a positive statement of what counts as an abstract idea, or what counts a sufficient ‘transformation,’ and instead approaches all of these cases by saying…what does not count, what is ‘not enough.’ That leaves considerable uncertainty for patent holders now, and more importantly, for innovators going forward,” Sachs said, in Bloomberg BNA’s Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal article “Mere Implementation of Abstract Idea with Computer Not Patent Eligible.”

"You only get to how a computer factors in a patent after you figure out whether an abstract idea is being claimed," Sachs told the Daily Journal, in “Supreme Court Ruling Unlikely to Change Patent Law Attorneys Say.” He added, "We still don't have an answer for that."

Sachs told SCRIP Intelligence that this decision could lead to patent litigants and lower courts attempting to answer the abstract idea question piecemeal.  "In the end, we have little guidance and much potential fodder for future litigation," said Sachs.

The Alice Corp. decision highlights that recent Court rulings are limiting the power of patent holders, Sachs told Bloomberg. “The court is doing many things that are restricting the ability to enforce patents rights and in this case to obtain patent rights,” he said in “Software Patent Protection Curbed by U.S. Supreme Court.”

However, on the bright side, Sachs told The San Francisco Business Times he was glad the Court did not issue a broad ruling that included all software. “The good news from a Valley perspective: they did not rule that software was ineligible for patent protection,” he said in“Will Supreme Court Patent Ruling Hobble the Trolls?”

The full articles are available through the Bloomberg BNA (subscription required) and San Francisco Business Times websites.​​