Inventions that fall into certain categories of excluded subject-matter, including programmes for computers, mathematical methods and mental acts, are not patentable in Europe. The EPO’s established ‘COMVIK’ approach assesses inventive step for claims that include a mixture of features that do and do not fall into categories of excluded subject-matter. If a claim feature relates to excluded subject-matter and does not contribute to a technical solution to a technical problem then it is ignored for the assessment of inventive step
We have just finished watching the oral proceedings before the EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) on case G1/19 concerning the patentability of computer simulations. We were not alone – some 1,600 people signed up to watch today’s oral proceedings by live stream. Unfortunately (but not unexpectedly) no decision was announced during the proceedings. However, we did get to hear some of the EBA’s thoughts on the issues.
In modern manufacturing and design processes, computer models and simulations play a key and ever expanding role. Whereas previously many different prototypes may have had to be individually machined and then tested, now each design can be tested virtually. This allows optimal designs to be found without incurring any of the expense, or expending any of the time, associated with manufacturing multiple custom prototype components and designs- here we focus on the automotive sector.
Further discussion on the UK IPO Patent Hearing Officers approach to the question of excluded subject matter.This article looks at one of those decisions in more detail: Hitachi Ltd’s GB patent application relating to a computer-implemented construction site management method.
Many of our clients are startup companies who are looking to secure funding from investors to help them develop to a point at which they can ‘exit’. Typically this may involve a buyout from a larger company.There are three core categories of an effective patent strategy that may be scrutinised by investors or potential buyers: