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Law & practice

Notice from the European Patent Office dated 1 October 2007 concerning business methods[ 1 ]

OJ EPO 2007, 592

PCT

The EPO wishes to remind applicants that pursuant to Rule 39.1(iii) PCT it will not carry out an international search on an application to the extent that its subject-matter relates to no more than a method of doing business, in the absence of any apparent technical character.

In these cases a declaration will be issued that no international search report will be established pursuant to Article 17(2) PCT.

This may well have consequences for the procedure before the EPO as IPEA in view of the fact that claims relating to inventions for which no international search report has been established need not be the subject of international preliminary examination (Rule 66.1(e) PCT). Furthermore, the EPO is not required to carry out an international preliminary examination on an application if its subject-matter is a method of doing business (Rule 67.1(iii) PCT).

In cases where the claimed subject-matter involves technical means the EPO will issue a search report. Where the employed technical means are so conventional that they were widely available and no documentary evidence is considered required because of their notoriety, no document will be cited in the search report. A statement will be inserted in the search report indicating that these technical means are considered to be so commonplace that no citation is considered necessary.

EPC

The EPO also wishes to remind applicants that methods of doing business, as such, are excluded from patentability pursuant to Article 52(2)(c) and (3) EPC. Claims of European patent applications which relate to no more than such methods will not be searched. A declaration to this effect will take the place of the European or supplementary search report pursuant to Rule 45 EPC[ 2 ].

In cases where the claimed subject-matter involves technical means the EPO will issue a search report or partial search report. Where the employed technical means are so conventional that they were widely available to everyone at the date of filing and no documentary evidence is considered required because of their notoriety, no document will be cited in the search report. A statement will be inserted in the search report indicating that these technical means are considered to be so commonplace that no citation is considered necessary.

 

 

[ 1 ] This notice replaces the previous notice dated 26 March 2002 (OJ EPO 2002, 260).

[ 2 ] Corresponds to Rule 63 in EPC 2000.