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

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 in Europe: Encrypted data communication is technical, but conventional

The decision T 1072/09 of 13 November 2014 is a good example that data encryption methods are technical and therefore generally patent-eligible at the European Patent Office. To overcome the inventive step hurdle, however, more is needed than the general idea of using encryption. The patent application underlying the decision dealt with a secure scheme for… Read More

Software patents in Europe: cryptography is patent-eligible subject-matter

This decision of November 30, 2010 may be interesting for the cryptography-acquainted reader. While mathematical methods as such are excluded from patentability at the EPO, the question underlying the decision was whether this also applies to the employment of mathematics in cryptography applications: Catchwords (inofficial translation) Methods for encrypting/decrypting or signing electronic messages have to… Read More