Software Patents In Europe - Protecting The Future Today

Author:Mr Joel D. Rodrigues
Profession:Inventa International
 
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THE CONTEXT

The society of today galloped through technological evolutionary steps. Everyday life has been hijacked by Wi-Fi and all types of connectable devices. From smartphones to smart-fridges, everything is connected through wireless systems, various networks existing simultaneously, intertwined amongst themselves. While it may not be possible to protect the aforementioned programs by themselves, what is protected is exactly the method or a system implemented by software.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

A computer-Implemented Invention is one in which a key feature is executed through an automated system using a computer, a computerized network or any other programmable apparatus. To be considered as a patentable invention, it must be able to solve a technical problem through a technical solution.

The concept of a technical solution, while vague, certainly establishes that the invention must serve as a solution to a present technical problem, to be considered an invention. Some examples of these technical solutions are:

Method of encoding audio information, reducing the noise, in a communication system; A program controlling of an industrial process; A program affecting the internal functioning of the computer itself or its interfaces under the influence of a program that affects the efficiency or security of a process; A program which manages the computer resources required or the rate of data transfer in a communication link. After the status as technical solution is established, the three patent requirements must still be fulfilled regarding the technical features of the invention:

Novelty; Inventive step; Industrial application. The main problem is the exclusion of software as a patentable subject matter by the Article 52(2)(c) and (3) of the EPC. The coding behind the software can only be protected through copyrights.

The patentability of software based inventions guarantees the exclusivity of the underlying innovative principle of the automated system in question. While this is attractive to investors and businesses alike, due to the exclusive right it provides, it...

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