German software patent 101: Is software patent-eligible in Germany?

von Bastian Best
Is software patentable subject matter in Germany?

Yes, if the software is related to an invention which has a technical character and provides a technical contribution to the prior art by solving a technical problem. By contrast, if the software solves only a business-related problem and no technical considerations are involved in its solution, the software is not patentable in Germany.

What are “technical character” and “technical contribution”?

Unfortunately, neither the German Patent Act (Patentgesetz, PatG) nor the decisions of the courts provide a valid definition of these terms. By contrast, the German Federal Court of Justice has repeatedly stated that the concept of technology as a legal term used for the delimitation of patentable inventions eludes a definite and final determination ...

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