Computer-Implemented Inventions
EPO Case Law 2018 (updated July 2019)

2018 may not have been a revolutionary year for the case law of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO in the field of computer-implemented inventions but there were a number of clarifications and revisions to established practice which are worth noting.

Whilst the year saw artificial intelligence being touted with increased fervour by the EPO (the EPO issued new examination guidelines focussed on AI), along with the rest of the tech world, patent applications riding the current wave of AI-fever have barely had time to be granted or refused by the EPO, let alone be the subject of decisions by the Boards of Appeal. We look forward to seeing how the Boards approach AI in the coming years.

As part of our review of the decisions of the Board of appeal in 2018, we have selected a number of decisions – all appeals from an Examining Division to refuse an application – that give some guidance on the principles that have been developed over the past 16 years, since the COMVIK decision (T 0641/00) was issued.

Alongside summaries of those decisions, we have included a summary of the EPO’s approach to “mixed-type” inventions – i.e. those inventions that are made up of both technical and non-technical features.

This summary of the 2018 decisions should help shed more light on the EPO’s approach to computer implemented inventions. If you have any questions regarding how the EPO’s practice could apply to or affect you, please get in touch with our experienced software patent team.

To view our full summary of the 2018 decisions, please see our Computer-Implemented Inventions report