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


We take sustainability very seriously at Fenwick. Like many of our clients, we are adopting policies that reduce consumption and waste, and improve efficiency. By using technologies developed by a number of our cleantech clients, we are at the forefront of implementing sustainable policies and practices that minimize environmental impact. In fact, Fenwick has earned recognition in several areas as one of the top US law firms for implementing sustainable business practices.  MORE >

At Fenwick, we have a passion for excellence and innovation that mirrors our client base. Our firm is making revolutionary changes to the practice of law through substantial investments in proprietary technology tools and processes—allowing us to deliver best-in-class legal services more effectively.   MORE >

Mountain View Office
Silicon Valley Center
801 California Street
Mountain View, CA 94041

San Francisco Office
555 California Street
12th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104

Seattle Office
1191 Second Avenue
10th Floor
Seattle, WA 98101

New York Office
1211 Avenue of the Americas
32nd Floor
New York, NY 10036

Shanghai Office
Unit 908, 9/F, Kerry Parkside Office
No. 1155 Fang Dian Road
Pudong New Area, Shanghai 201204
P.R. China
+86 21 8017 1200

Robert R. Sachs

Partner, Intellectual Property  

San Francisco 415.875.2410



Robert Sachs concentrates his practice on strategic patent counseling and prosecution for software technologies. Bob has extensive experience in developing patent portfolios for companies of all sizes, from startups to multi-nationals.

He is the primary evaluator for standards essential patents on today's most important audio, video, and communications technologies, including 3GPP-LTE, IEEE 802.11, MPEG-4 AAC, DVB-MHP, OCAP, Digital Radio Mondiale, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, AMR-WB+, G.711, G.729, AGORA-C, and NFC-IP. He conducts and supervises patent evaluations in US, as well as supervising a network of law firms conducting patent evaluations in Europe, Japan, China, South Korea, Mexico and Canada.

One of Bob’s areas of expertise is patentable subject matter: the question of what kinds of inventions are eligible for patent protection, and particularly whether software and life sciences related inventions are patentable. This issue has become the new battleground in the development of the patent law, with several important cases having been recently decided by the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. While most authors and scholars take a results-oriented approach to this question, Bob instead starts with the first principles of creativity and innovation that drive humans to solve functional problems. From that understanding, software and life sciences inventions are squarely in the domain of what the patent law is designed to protect. Follow Bob’s commentary on patent eligibility and related patent issues on Bilski Blog.

Speaking Engagements

Bob has been a speaker and panelist at many conferences, including:

  • USPTO Subject Matter Eligibility Guidelines,” USPTO Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Roundtable, November 14, 2016, Alexandria, Virginia.
  • Software and Section 101: Finding Your Way Through Turbulence,” Intellectual Property Owners Association, October 19, 2016.
  • Center of the Protection of Intellectual Property: Summer Institute," Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, August 3-4, 2016, Snolqualmie, WA.
  • Update on Federal Circuit 101 Cases,” AIPLA, July 20, 2016.
  • Updates From the Front: Electronics/Software,” AIPLA Spring Meeting, May 18, 2016, Minneapolis, MN.
  • "The Patent Expert Is in: An Afternoon with Robert Sachs on Hot Topics in Patent Law," Santa Clara Bar Association, April 28, 2016.
  • "Patentability of Software Patents: Emerging Strategies for Attorneys in 2016," Knowledge Group, February 4, 2016.
  • "Software and Business Method Patent Strategy Post-Alice," Law Seminars INternational, January 20, 2016.
  • "The Business Impact of the Developing Section 101 Jurisprudence," Stanford Graduate School of Business, January 12, 2016, Stanford, CA.
  • Reed Tech Global IP Meeting, Reed Tech, January 11, 2016.
  • Analysis of USPTO’s Interim Guidance,” AIPLA Spring Meeting, April 30, 2015, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Patentability of Software Patents: Emerging Strategies for Attorneys in 2015,” Knowledge Group Webcast, February 10, 2015.
  • USPTO’s Interim Eligibility Guidance: 4 Observations + 1 Story,” USPTO Patent Eligibility Forum, January 21, 2015 USPTO, Arlington, VA.
  • Patent-Eligible Subject Matter: A Walk Through the Jurisprudential Morass of § 101,” Practicing Law Institute 7th Annual Patent Law Institute, March 18-19, 2013, San Francisco, CA
  • The Federalist Society, "Boon or Bane for Technological Innovation?: Software Patents," November 6, 2012
  • Critical Debrief: “The Patentability of Ideas: The Impact of Prometheus," July 24, 2012, Washington D.C.
  • Palo Alto Bar Association, “Punishing Prometheus: The Supreme Court’s Destruction of Patent Value,” May 8, 2012, Palo Alto, CA
  • Licensing Executive Society, World IP Day: Around the World with LES, "Philosophy, The Patent Law, and Innovation," April 26, 2012, USPTO, Alexandria, VA
  • Berkeley Center for Law and Technology, 12th Annual S​ilicon Valley Advanced Patent Law Institute, "Patentable Subject Matter: The Ongoing Saga of Section 101," December 8-9, 2011, Palo Alto, CA
  • Practicing Law Institute, "CyberSource, Classen and Ultramercial: What it means for Software Patents," October 24, 2011
  • 2011 Congress on Patent Strategies for the Financial Services Industry, "Bilski vs. Kappos: How Bilski Changes the Law of Patentable Subject Matter, and its Effect on Present and Future Patent Programs, and Effective Patent Strategies," September 19-20, 2011, New York, NY
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Magistrate Judges Retreat, "The Art and Science of Patent Prosecution," September 7, 2011, Moss Beach, CA
  • Eighth Annual Stanford E-Commerce Best Practices Conference, "E-Commerce Patents: Patent Marketplace to Patent Litigation," June 24, 2011, Stanford Law School, Stanford, CA
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association, 2011 Spring Meeting, "Philosophy and Patents," May 12-14, 2011, San Francisco, CA
  • Churchill Club Great Debate: Should Software Be Patentable?, Fenwick & West LLP, Mountain View, CA, February 16, 2011
  • USPTO's 2010 Business Methods Partnership Meeting, "No Longer Business as Usual: Bilski v. Kappos and the Future of Patentable Subject Matter," United States Patent & Trademark Office, September 23, 2010.
  • Seventh Annual Stanford Ecommerce Best Practices Conference, Stanford Law School, June 25, 2010.
  • Bilski Amicus Roundtable, Fenwick & West LLP, Mountain View, CA, July 10, 2009.
  • Sixth Annual Stanford Ecommerce Best Practices Conference, Stanford Law School, June 12, 2009.
  • Licensing Executive Society 2009 Winter Meeting, "Patent Pools: Still Relevant After All These Years," San Antonio Texas, February 26, 2009.
  • Santa Clara Computer & High Technology Law Journal 2009 Symposium, Shifting Strategies in Patent Law, Santa Clara Law School, January 30, 2009.
  • Mobile TV & Video Summit at NAB2007, "Strategic Legal Considerations for MoTV Businesses," Las Vegas, Nevada, April 17, 2007.
  • Software IP Strategy Summit, "Strategies for Claim Drafting for Business Method and Financial Patents," Palo Alto, California, February 20, 2007.
  • Business Method Patents in the United States, at Patent Law Year in Review: 2006, Palo Alto, California, January 19, 2007

Selected Publications

Bob is the author of several articles on patent strategy, including:

Key Experience

  • Created patent strategy for one of the early Internet music download websites, for which primary patent on system architecture sold for $7 million
  • Patented fundamental mutual fund model of age-based lifecycle mutual funds for a leading financial service company, now a $110 billion market
  • Patented demand forecasting models for private software firm, used by several multinational retailers and fast food chains
  • Negotiated patent license with world's largest software and computer company, resulting in savings to client in excess of $5 million in royalties
  • Created patent strategy for leading casino and hotel management company, including prosecution of strategic patents on player tracking systems

Sample Patents

Internet Technologies


Computers and Communications

Financial Inventions

User Interface

Predictive Modeling and Solutions

Information Retrieval

Interactive Television