The European Patent Office is considering whether to redefine
the criteria for patenting software inventions.
Under current EPO rules, certain types of inventions are not
patentable, even if they are new and inventive. These include
software inventions that do not solve a technical problem.
The issue of how the requirement of technical aspect of a
software invention should be interpreted has been the subject of
much discussion for many years, not least because a different
definition applies in the US enabling patents on software
inventions to be obtained.
The EPO's Enlarged Board of Appeal is due to consider a
referral (G3/08) on this issue. A number of interested parties,
including [key industry bodies], have made their views known to the
EPO in the hope of influencing its decision.
If the EPO decides to adopt a strict policy of examination, many
filings for software patents will not succeed. If it decides to
lower the requirements, we can expect a significant increase in
European software patent filings.
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