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Clarification on software patents in Europe expected today

Decision in EBA case G3/08

The patentability of software is an issue on which strong views are held on either side of the debate.  The issue has exercised the minds of the national courts in Europe and the European Patent Office (“EPO”) for decades. 

In October 2008, the President of the European Patent Office asked the Enlarged Board of Appeal at the EPO for clarifications on interpreting the exclusion of “programs for computers” from patentability under Article 52 of the European Patent Convention. The EBA has been asked to clarify not only when a claim as a whole falls under the exclusion, but also the circumstances under which individual features relating to computer programs can contribute to the technical character of a claim, and as such would be relevant for assessing novelty and inventive step.

As part of the referral process, a public consultation was held which ended on April 30th 2009. The Boards of Appeal office at the EPO has confirmed to us today that the decision of the EBA is expected later today.


G3/08 reference

G3/08 amicus curie briefs

Decision will be published here


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