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:
Does the claim include technical features?
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.
In case you haven’t seen it already on the BARDEHLE PAGENBERG newsfeeds, my colleague Patrick Heckeler and I had a short conversation about the pending referral G1/19 and the underlying question whether computer simulations should be patentable at the EPO:
I’m very much looking forward to the Enlarged Board’s decision. In fact, this decision could affect entire industry branches, since all kinds of industries nowadays heavily rely on computer simulations.
This decision is about database technology. Lately, I had several applications get rejected in first instance based on the argument that the invention involves only logical query optimization (=non-technical), which is by design encapsulated from the physical query execution plan (=technical).
Unsure whether your software invention will be considered technical at the EPO? Check back regularly, because we publish a new case law summary every Tuesday in the European software patents knowledge base.
I was talking about possible blockchain applications for IP registers at the IP Executive Week recently. It’s an event organized by the EPO and EUIPO where management level staff of international IP offices met in Munich to learn about the technological and organizational challenges of the future.
For the interested, here are my presentation slides:
I tried to make this more of a TED talk-style presentation, so the slides as such are probably not very useful by themselves…
Any questions about blockchain, patents for blockchain and how/if blockchain will disrupt the legal industry, feel free to ask.