Software patents in China

I’ve been told that the Chinese Patent Office has updated its Guidelines for Patent Examination, including some changes for inventions involving algorithm features and business rules.

As far as I understand these guidelines, subject-matter eligibility is tested in two steps:

  1. Does the claim include technical features?
  2. Does the claim recite technical means adopted to solve a technical problem?

Concerning inventive step, if the algorithmic features of the claim contribute to the technical solution, they have to be considered in the inventive step assessment.

To me, this sounds very similar to the German framework for assessing computer-implemented inventions. In Germany, we also have a two-step eligibility test (in contrast to the EPO’s more pragmatic “any hardware” approach), and inventive step can be based only on the technical part of the claim.

The amendments will enter into force on 1 Feb 2020.

Many thanks to Feynman Liang for making me aware of this update.

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