Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office
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Index for Computer-Implemented Inventions
A computer-implemented invention (CII) is one which involves the use of a computer, computer network or other programmable apparatus, where one or more features are realised wholly or partly by means of a computer program.
The following collection of hyperlinks is provided in order to facilitate access to the sections of the Guidelines for Examination in the EPO which give instructions particularly useful for the search and examination of CIIs.
It is noted that this collection is not a separate publication about CIIs. Instead, following a hyperlink will lead to the section of the most recent and applicable version of the Guidelines which has the stated number and title.
The collection of sections essentially comprises the teaching about assessing patentability requirements, in particular in case of claims comprising a mix of technical and non-technical features, which are common in CII. Sections providing teaching about how to evaluate features related to the list of Article 52(2) are included as well as sections describing the search practice and requirements of Articles 83 and 84.
The collection of sections should not be regarded as an exhaustive list. The whole of the Guidelines apply for any European patent application or patent.
As with the rest of the Guidelines, the updating of sections relating particularly to CIIs is an ongoing process to take account of developments in European patent law and practice. The list below also serves to point out which sections have recently been updated as indicated by the dates which follow the section title.
Novelty and inventive step
- G-VII, 5.4 Claims comprising technical and non-technical features (updated in GL 2015)
- G-VII, 5.4.1 Formulation of the objective technical problem (updated in GL 2015)
- G-VII, 5.4.2 Examples of applying the steps listed in G-VII, 5.4 (introduced in GL 2016, with its sub-sections)
Features related to the list of Art. 52(2) and technical contribution
- G-II, 3.3 Mathematical methods
- G-II, 3.4 Aesthetic creations
- G-II, 3.5 Schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business
- G-II, 3.6 Programs for computers
- G-II, 3.7 Presentations of information
- B-VIII, 2.2 Subject-matter excluded from patentability under Art. 52(2) and (3) (introduced in GL 2015)
- B-VIII, 2.2.1 Computer-implemented business methods (updated in GL 2015)
Requirements of Art. 84 EPC
- F-IV, 3.9 Claims directed to computer-implemented inventions (introduced in GL 2016, with its sub-sections)
Requirements of Art. 83 EPC
- F-III, 1 Sufficiency of disclosure (see par. 3 )