Caching security information of a smart card: technical but obvious

This examination appeal concerns a system for caching information retrieved from a hardware security token, i.e. a smart card or any other tamper-resistant hardware device used to store digital credentials, cryptographic keys or the like. Since it was not even questioned that this is technical subject-matter, the decision is quite straight-forward and “only” deals with inventive step. tl;dr:… Read More

Startup patents: The second worst reason why startups should file patents

As we’ve talked about the #1 bad reason why startups should file patents, let’s take a look at the second worst reason: Also this reason is fine from an academic viewpoint. Patents are business assets just like physical objects. They can be bought and sold, exchanged, or “rented out”, i.e. the patent owner may allow… Read More

Startup patents: The #1 BAD REASON why startups should file patents

I’m just preparing some presentation slides for a talk I will be giving tomorrow at the Center for Digital Technology and Management, a joint institution of the two universities we have here in Munich. The topic of my lecture will be “IP strategies for startups” – and a large part will be about patents, obviously. And… Read More

Programming, modelling, and new programming languages are hardly patentable

As in the previous decision, also this decision is rather bad news for software developers who intend to protect their creations with software patents. Some key takeaway messages: Neither modelling nor programming is, by itself, a technical undertaking Modifications to a programming language that enable the programmer to develop a program with greater ease, speed… Read More

Making software quicker is not patentable

This is an interesting decision for programmers, since the EPO Board of Appeal 3.5.06 had to decide whether the reduction of the execution time of a computer-implemented method is a technical effect and thus potentially patentable. The board’s answer in a nutshell: The improved speed of a computer program is not by itself a technical… Read More

Why software patent eligibility is not an issue at the EPO—and what the USPTO could learn from this

Talking about software patent eligibility, allow me a quick rant about the flaws of the infamous “abstract idea” test: Honestly, I believe the Mayo/Alice two-step test causes much more harm than good: What kinds of ideas are too “abstract” for a patent? Doesn’t every invention start with an idea? Who can tell the difference between… Read More

European #softwarepatent roundup 03/16

For all readers interested in software patent-related case law, here’s the March’16 roundup: New EPO software patent case law Giving nicknames to business contacts: no technical contribution Case T 2428/11 concerned an examination appeal against the rejection of European patent application No. EP 1 770 625 (“Communicating with business customers”). Claim 1 was essentially directed to a communication system with a… Read More

European #softwarepatent roundup

While the impact of Alice on US software patents is still heavily discussed, 2016 has so far not produced any revolutionary software-related decisions by the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) or the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH). The German Federal Patent Court (BPatG), however, has been quite busy. Here’s a quick roundup:

„Software Patents Worldwide“ – Germany chapter #22

It’s been a while since our Germany chapter of “Software Patents Worldwide“ was last updated. The revised edition #22 will be published in December and includes the most recent software patent-related decisions of the German Federal Court of Justice (FCJ). In particular, the decisions “image stream” (BGH Bildstrom) and “airplane status” (BGH Flugzeugzustand) are quite interesting,… Read More