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.
What will happen when (weak) AI has automated all routine work?
Option A: Being freed from the tedious and less sophisticated parts of work, we will happily take on the more challenging tasks, and will also find fulfillment in other things than paid work. Basically a liberation from the annoying part of labor à la Frithjof Bergmann and Frederic Laloux.
Option B: All that’s left for us to do are mentally very challenging tasks, problem cases, customer complaints, missed deadlines, liability cases. Burnout rates will skyrocket and we will wish back the old days where one could mentally recharge during the less complex tasks of one’s workday (more of a Gunter Dück‘ian dystopia).
What’s your forecast?And which human skills will be required to create a desirable future?
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.