Software Inventions: UKIPO and EPO approaches to patent eligibility

Special Report 2021

 

It is well-known that it can be challenging to obtain patent protection for inventions relating to software in Europe. Indeed, it is common for software developers to assume that European patent protection is not available for their innovations

In this report we take a close look at whether the European Patent Office (“EPO”) and the UK Intellectual Property Office (“UKIPO”) handle software inventions differently. We also reveal some strategic insights that we think will be of benefit to companies seeking patent protection for software inventions in the UK and Europe.

This report seeks to find out whether the EPO and UKIPO approaches to patent eligibility produce the same results in practice, by asking the following questions:

  1. Is there a difference in the way that the UKIPO and EPO raise patent eligibility objections against claims that relate to essentially the same invention?
  2. Does the nature of the software invention claimed make a difference to whether patent eligibility objections will be raised by the UKIPO and EPO?
  3. How does the existence of a patent eligibility objection influence the outcome of patent examination at the UKIPO and EPO?

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