Softwarepatente in Europa: Auf den technischen Beitrag kommt es an! (T1784/06)

In der Entscheidung T 1784/06 (Classification method/COMPTEL) vom 21. September 2012 ging es (wie so oft) um die Frage der Patentierbarkeit eines “gemischten” Patentanspruchs mit technischen und nicht-technischen Merkmalen. Die Kammer 3.5.01 gibt in diesem Zusammenhang eine anschauliche Übersicht über den COMVIK-Ansatz, wonach für die erfinderische Tätigkeit nur die technischen Merkmale zählen:

Aus der Begründung [2.] The COMVIK approach to assessing inventive step under Article 56 EPC 1973

The Board stands by the Comvik approach that only features contributing to the technical character of claimed subject-matter enter into the examination for inventive step, see T 641/00-Two identities/COMVIK, OJ EPO 2003, 352, point 6:

“… where a feature cannot be considered as contributing to the solution of any technical problem by providing a technical effect it has no significance for the purpose of assessing inventive step.”

[2.1] As patents can be granted only for technical subject-matter (Article 52(1)(2)(3) EPC), it is consequential that a (non-obvious) contribution which justifies the grant of a patent has to have a technical character. It would appear paradoxical to the Board to recognise an inventive step on the basis of a non-technical innovation (such as an organisational, administrative, commercial or mathematical algorithm) having no technical implication other than the (obvious) desire for its implementation on a general-purpose computer.

Already before the Comvik decision, technically non-functional modifications were considered as irrelevant to inventive step (see e.g. T 72/95 dated 18 March 1998, point 5.4).

[2.2] According to the appellant, claimed subject-matter as a whole should be examined for the presence of an inventive step once the subject-matter as a whole has been found to meet the technology criterion of Article 52(1)(2)(3) EPC ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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