Software patents for emerging tech since 2008

CategorySoftware Patents

First-hand insights into software patents in Europe and beyond

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 contribution to the art.

Software patents in Europe: It’s all about the technical contribution!


Is software patentable in Europe? Well, the short answer is “Yes”, but only if it provides a non-obvious technical contribution: In other words, the invention needs to solve a technical problem in a clever way. For example, if the software runs more efficiently, more secure, more robust, more scalable, or more user-friendly , your software patent is in pretty good shape! (provided that the...

Making software quicker is not necessarily patentable


As the skilled reader will know, at the EPO only features which make a technical contribution enter into the examination of inventive step (obviousness) whereas non-technical features are disregarded. In this decision, the EPO board of appeal had to decide whether a computer program that it is faster than an earlier one makes the required technical contribution. The board’s answer in a nutshell:...

German software patent 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. How to get a German software patent? Patent protection in Germany can be obtained either nationally by filing a national German patent application with...

European software patent 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: Executive summary: Cryptography: Improving the...

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 GPTO, it is the European Patent...

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...

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 patent claim. The invention The...

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 was the rejection of a German patent application. The... Software patents for emerging tech since 2008