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

German #softwarepatent 101: prosecution and enforcement in a nutshell

This post summarizes the prosecution process of German patent applications and the enforcement of German patents. The explanations mostly apply to software-related patents as well as to any other German patent regardless of its technical field.

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. 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 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

German software patent 101: The “three-step” approach to patentability of software

TL;DR: Yes, software patents are allowed in Germany if the software solves a technical problem in a non-obvious manner, wherein only the technical features are taken into account for an inventive step and the non-technical features are disregarded. Pure business methods are not patentable, even when they are carried out on a computer or “on the Internet”…. Read More

„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

Good news for software patents in Germany?

Regular readers of this blog will know that the German courts tend to follow a comparatively strict approach when it comes to software patents. Following the landmark decision “webpage display” a number of software-related claims have been rejected for either non-statutory subject-matter (since computer programs as such are not patent-eligible) or lack of inventive step (since purely non-technical features are disregarded)…. Read More