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OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Patent Protection for Software and for Software Based Business Methods.

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Presentation on theme: "OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Patent Protection for Software and for Software Based Business Methods."— Presentation transcript:

1 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Patent Protection for Software and for Software Based Business Methods A General Overview and Comparison between European and United States Approaches Olivier Sacroug European Patent Attorney Katzarov SA

2 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Software Protection: Copyright or Patent? –Copyright : automatic and free protection of a literary work. –Patent : protects a function, independently of the grammatical construction of the lines of code.

3 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Copyright –Advantages: Free No disclosure of the source code required –Disadvantages: No real protection of the function

4 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Patents –Advantages: Protects the idea behind the software –Disadvantages: Favours big corporations (?) Inhibits competition and innovation (?)

5 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Copyright –Protects against piracy Patent –Protects against imitation

6 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Is Software patentable in Europe (EPC)? NO!

7 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Are Software Inventions patentable in Europe (EPC)? Yes, if…

8 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Article 52(1) EPC –European patents are granted for inventions that : are new involve an inventive step are susceptible of industrial application

9 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Article 52(2) EPC –programs for computers are not to be regarded as inventions (because they lack a technical character)

10 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Article 52(3) EPC –exceptions listed in Article 52(2) have to be interpreted narrowly

11 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Interpretation of the Boards of Appeal –computer-implemented inventions can be patented if they involve an inventive technical contribution to the prior art

12 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Computer-implemented Inventions –Any invention the performance of which involves the use of a computer, computer network or other programmable apparatus and having one or more features which are realised wholly or partly by means of one or several computer programs.

13 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/ types of Computer-implemented Inventions –Technical processes describable without computer/software features. –Problem can not be solved completely without computer implementation. –Solution exclusively in the area of software. –Invention is a computer implementation of a non- technical process.

14 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 T 208/84 & T26/86 –a software for controlling or carrying-out a technical process is patentable

15 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 T 1173/97 & T935/97 –computer programs stored on a data carrier are patentable if there is a further technical effect (i.e., one going beyond the normal physical effect)

16 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 T 258/03 –a patent can not be granted if there is no technical contribution to the prior art

17 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Non-patentable computer-implemented inventions –Internet retailing method –fixed-odds betting system (EP ) –business methods

18 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Patentable computer-implemented invention –an invention enabling the detection of the proper functioning of an ABS control unit (EP ) –computer-controlled process for operating a robot arm

19 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Patentable computer-implemented invention –computer-controlled process for enhancing a graphic display –computer-controlled process for controlling data storage between memories –computer-controlled process for routing diverse calls through a telephone exchange

20 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Are Business Methods patentable in Europe (EPC)? NO!

21 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Article 52(2) EPC –rules and methods for … doing business are not to be regarded as inventions

22 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 T 931/95 –pure business methods as such are not patentable

23 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Conclusion –Patent protection of software is possible in Europe, but it is necessary to identify a technical effect. –Business methods are rejected by the European examiners.

24 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Is Software patentable in the U.S.A.? YES!

25 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Software: –Same as any other invention –Must be new, useful, non-obvious –Approximately software-related U.S. patents each year

26 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Acceptable software-related inventions: –Computer aided design software –Insurance and financial software systems –Debuggers –Operating systems –E-commerce solutions –Compilers –Business methods –etc.

27 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Non-acceptable inventions: –Mathematical laws (e.g. Fourrier transform) –Laws of nature Processes based on these laws and implemented by computer programs are patentable, if new, useful and non-obvious.

28 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Important for any patent application in the U.S.A. –Describe the best mode –Cite relevant prior art, including competing solutions

29 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Important in particular for software patent applications in the U.S.A. –Use flowcharts –File early in the development process or submit source code (duty of disclosure)

30 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Trends of U.S. Companies –Aggressive patenting of software development –Litigation increase (more than 2500 lawsuits each year) –Huge damages (up to several millions dollars) –Negotiations (97% settle prior to trial)

31 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Are Business Methods patentable in the U.S.A.? Yes, but…

32 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Business method patents: –Highly scrutinized by the U.S. examiners –Long delays –Small percentage of U.S. patents

33 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Conclusion –File –File early –Disclose everything that you know –Be ready to negotiate

34 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Conclusion –Software patents in Europe: Yes, if… –Business method patents in Europe: NO! –Software patents in the U.S.A.: YES! –Busin. meth. patents in the U.S.A.: Yes, but…

35 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Questions?

36 OVERVIEWEUROPE (EPC)UNITED STATESCONCLUSION Copyright © KATZAROV S.A.23/01/2007 Olivier Sacroug Katzarov SA European Patent & Trademark Attorneys Geneva and Basel Tel: Fax: Thank You!


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