Software is patentable in Europe so long as there is sufficient ‘technical contribution’ under the decades-long interpretation of the European Patent Convention made by the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office. Despite the failure of the proposed Directive on Computer Implemented Inventions, opponents of software patents have failed to have any affect upon this technical contrivance. Yet, while national courts find the Boards of Appeal decisions persuasive, ‘technical contribution’ remains a difficult test for these various courts to apply. In this article I outline that the test is difficult to utilise in national litigation (it is an engineering approach, rather than a legal one) and suggest that as the Boards of Appeal become less important (and thus less persuasive) should the proposed Unified Patent Court come to fruition, the ‘technical contribution’ test is unlikely to last. This may again make the whole issue of what/whether/how software should be patentable open to debate, hopefully in a less aggressive environment than has existed to date.
|Title of host publication||Research Handbook on EU Internet Law|
|Editors||Andrej Savin, Jan Trzaskowski|
|Place of Publication||UK|
|ISBN (Electronic)||978 1 78254 417 3|
|ISBN (Print)||978 1 78254 416 6|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2014|
Leith, P. (2014). Software Patents and the Digital Environment. In A. Savin, & J. Trzaskowski (Eds.), Research Handbook on EU Internet Law Edward Elgar. http://www.e-elgar.co.uk/bookentry_main.lasso?currency=US&id=15286