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:

German software patent 101: What is a “utility model”?

In addition to patents, there is a utility model in Germany, which is codified in the Utility Model Act (“Gebrauchsmustergesetz”, GebrMG). In contrast to patents, which are substantively examined before grant, German utility models are registered after an examination for formal criteria only. Since a utility model is not substantially examined prior to registration, its… Read More

Software patents in Germany: Should you file with the EPO or the German Patent Office?

Today, patent protection in Germany can be obtained either nationally by filing a national German patent application with the German Patent and Trademark Office (GPTO); or by validating a European patent granted by the EPO and designating Germany. Whereas a national German patent application will be examined for the patentability criteria by the examiners of the… Read More

Fig. 2 of DE 101 15 895 C1

Software patents in Germany: Challenging times for software inventions – Webpage display

The Federal Court of Justice (FCJ)’s decision Webpage Display is currently the latest landmark decision dealing with the general methodology behind the patentability of software-related inventions. It establishes the German three-step examination approach and thereby systematically deviates from the two-step approach established at the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO). At the same time,… Read More

Fig. 2a of EP 0 378 271 B1

Only technical features can form an “invention” in Germany

With the decision Display of Topographic Information the Federal Court of Justice (FCJ) continued its examination methodology for software-related inventions laid out in the Dynamical Generation of Documents decision. In addition, the FCJ held that inventive step (the third hurdle of the German three-step approach) can only be based on the technical features of a… Read More

Fig. 1 of DE 102 32 674 A1

Only the technical solution of a technical problem is patent-eligible in Germany

The decision Dynamical Generation of Documents of 22 April 2010  is one of the most important landmark decisions with regard to the patentability of software in Germany, since it establishes the German “three-step approach” for assessing the patentability of software patents, as it is valid today. The case at stake The case to be decided… Read More

German software patents on graphical user interfaces?

Patent applications on new types of GUIs oftentimes run into trouble in Germany because the examiners consider them to be “presentation of information“. As the avid reader will know, the presentation of information is one of the items on the list of subject-matters excluded “as such” from patent protection. In the recent Image Stream decision (BGH Bildstrom… Read More

German software patent 101: How to draft German software patent claims?

Are claims to a computer program acceptable? If a software-related invention meets the basic patentability criteria and thus is not excluded from patent protection, it can be protected in Germany by all types of claims, including claims directed to a computer program per se. Are claims for a data carrier necessary? Since a non-excluded software-related invention can be… Read More

German software patent 101: Is software patent-eligible in Germany?

Is software patentable subject matter in Germany? Yes, if the software is related to an invention which has a technical character and provides a technical contribution to the prior art by solving a technical problem. By contrast, if the software solves only a business-related problem and no technical considerations are involved in its solution, the software is not patentable… Read More