The EPO’s Enlarged Board of appeal handed down decision G1/19 on 10 March 2021. This decision concerns the patentability of computer simulations under the European Patent Convention (EPC). While primary applicability of this decision is of course to simulation inventions, the Enlarged Board emphasised in the decision that simulations were not to be treated as a special class of computer-implemented invention. This means that the guidance provided in G1/19 can be generalised to all computer-implemented inventions at the EPO.
In brief, one of the main conclusions of G1/19 is that a simulation per se is non-technical and so cannot be the subject of a granted European patent. However, it is possible to get a granted patent that is directed to a use of the simulation where an outcome of the simulation is used in a technical context. For more information on this, see our whitepaper here.
This is all very well in principle, but what does it mean in practice to claim ‘the use of an outcome of a simulation in a technical context’? Helpfully the Enlarged Board provided some guidance on this point in G1/19 and, based on this, we have come up with the following tips for claim drafting for computer-implemented inventions.
Please do get in touch if you have any questions concerning the new law on computer-implemented simulations and what it might mean for your invention. Find my contact details on my website profile here or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GJE Review: Simulations
GJE’s computer technology team have put together a comprehensive collection of content designed to equip your business with insight into simulations and the role intellectual property has in its development. To view the full collection, click here.