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

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.

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:

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 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