bastianbest.com Software patents for emerging tech since 2008

CategorySoftware Patents

First-hand insights into software patents in Europe and beyond

Displaying internet search results: mostly non-technical presentation of information

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This examination appeal decision concerns one of the items on the list of things excluded from patentability that is often encountered when dealing with graphical user interface design: the presentation of information. As we will see, unless the displayed information relates to an internal state of a technical system, or the way of displaying it facilitates a continued human-machine interaction...

More fine-grain spam filtering is patent-eligible, says the EPO

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This recent decision is a good reminder about how the European Patent Office treats “mixed” inventions, i.e. inventions including both technical and non-technical aspects: It is established jurisprudence of the Boards of Appeal that a non-technical feature of a claim is a feature relating to non-inventions within the meaning of Article 52(2) EPC and does not contribute to the solution...

Alice and software patents

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Here’s a quick question to my US patent practitioner friends. Do I understand the current application of Alice/Mayo correctly in that it involves: a weighing of the patent-eligible and ineligible parts of the claim? a comparison with the prior art? At least for me, this court decision says so, doesn’t it? “Based on this characterization, the court found that “[t]he weight of the claim...

It’s the technical contribution!

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Just in case you forgot about the examination standard for software patents at the EPO, the recent decision T 0551/11 sums it up pretty nicely: “The question of inventive step requires an assessment of whether the invention makes a technical contribution over the prior art. Features which do not make such a contribution cannot support the presence of an inventive step.” This is a pretty...

Patent infringement in the cloud

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Can your company be liable for patent infringement for using an external cloud provider? My partner Peter K. Hess and I spent some thoughts on this in an article on cloudmagazin.com (in German). In a nutshell: Outsourcing parts of your business to an external cloud service does not immunize your company from patent infringement liability. Most cloud providers offer measures to shield their...

No software patents for programming language constructs

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Software patent news from the EPO: Programming language constructs cannot be patented – not the commands, not their syntax and not their operational semantics, according to this recent examination appeal decision. The patent application related to MATLAB‘s SPMD command. In case you don’t know, according to Wikipedia SPMD (single program, multiple data) is a technique employed to...

Are European blockchain innovators falling behind in the next IP arms race?

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There is nothing more relaxing on a Sunday afternoon than browsing the EPO case law database. To my surprise though, there are no (as in absolutely 0) hits for “blockchain”, i.e. it is not mentioned in any board of appeal decision. Ok, blockchain is a relatively young technology (at least from a patent law perspective) and appeal cases take a couple of years. So I did some more research: Google...

Don’t rely only on the description for claim amendments

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“Unsearched subject-matter” objections seem to be trending at the EPO these days. This means that a claim amendment taken from the description is not admitted by the examiner because the amended feature was not covered by the search for prior art. However, the EPO rules say that the search has to be done based on the claims, but with a view to the description and has to also cover features in the...

Don’t try to convince the primary examiner at an EPO oral hearing, go for the other two members instead

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When your patent application faces an oral hearing at the end of the examination procedure, there is a subtle difference between the EPO and the GPTO: GPTO: the hearing is handled by a single examiner (the same who also handled the written procedure) EPO: the hearing is handled by a panel of three examiners (the primary examiner in charge of the written procedure and two further examiners) So if...

Distributed software systems: make sure you get your patent claims right

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In times of the IoT, cloud and XaaS, most software products are geographically distributed, oftentimes even across countries. Make sure your software patent claims reflect this. Don’t mix up functionality of different entities in the same claim. If you do, your claim might never be directly infringed because no single infringer realizes all claim elements, or realizes some of the claim...

bastianbest.com Software patents for emerging tech since 2008