At the world’s biggest computer fair,  the CEBIT in Hannover , Germany today , an official of the European Patent Office promoted patents for CII(computer implemented inventions), also called software patents by critics. CII continues to grow considerably, according to EPO. While mathematical methods, programs for computers, and presentations of information are excluded by the Europe Patent Convention, that in no way stops CII, said EPO’s Georg Weber. There is a fix in the European Patent Convention which allows the software patenting nevertheless, he said.

Article 52.3 states that patentability for computer programs are excluded only to the extent to which the European patent application or European patent relates to such subject matter or activities as such.

 Epo’s Two – hurdle Test

The EPO would therefore grant CII patents after two hurdle test. To pass hurdle one, an application just has to have a technical character. Suppose if someone has a algorithm but no one’s knows what the algorithm is doing, then it cannot be patented. Weber explained to the CEBIT audience. If it is used for encryption though, it is already technical and the first hurdle is passed.

The second hurdle is related to inventive step, with convergence of technologies and everything being digitalized in industry 4.0 (fully digitalized, sensitized, artificial intelligence using traditional industry) patentability of CII is a central focus for the patent office. The EPO sees the CII as an opportunity to “re-industrialize Europe,” he said, “to stem the tide of delocalization” and “to support enforcements of inventor’s right via IP.”

The EPO, which has become the topic of many reports over fights between its boss and the employees, is well-prepared to handle computer implemented inventions, Weber said, through interdisciplinary patent examiner panels and updated guidelines for the CII and Industry 4.0 applicants.

 Index for computer implemented inventions

The collection of sections essentially comprises the teaching about assessing patentability requirements, in particular in case of claims comprising a mix of technical and non technical features, which are common in CII. Section providing teachings about how to evaluate feature to the list of article 52(2) are included as well as sections describing the search practice and requirements of article 83 and 84.The collection of sections should not be regarded as an exhaustive list. The whole of the Guidelines apply for any European patent application or patent.

As with the rest of the Guidelines, the updating of sections relating particularly to CIIs is an ongoing process to take account of developments in European patent law and practice.