The European software patent controversy: Court of Appeal sides with the European Patent Office
The Court of Appeal of The Hague is the exclusive appeal court in patent cases in The Netherlands. For the first time, this Court takes a position on a fundamental question relating to software patents ("computer implemented inventions"). This issue is treated differently in various European countries. One view is that the entire subject matter of the claim is not patentable if the contribution, in the light of the prior art, falls within the "excluded subject matter" categories software as such or a presentation of information as such. The other view is that if such a claim contains any technical feature at all, perhaps as trivial as a keyboard/processor/monitor combination, the subject matter is patentable but may fail on novelty or inventive step. This last approach conforms with the practice of the European Patent Office ("EPO"), which approach is now also accepted by the Hague Appeal Court.
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