European directive on patents for computer software

November 2003

Telecommunications, Internet

The European Parliament (September 24th 2003) has passed a resolution for a proposed directive to harmonize rules on software-related patents in its member states titled Directive on the Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions. Its aim is to provide clear guidance on what software-related subject matter may be patentable. Under the proposed Directive, in order for a computer-implemented invention to be patentable, it must make a technical contribution to the state of the art. An invention will not make a technical contribution merely because it involves the use of a computer, network or other programmable apparatus. The invention may only be claimed in the patent as a product or a technical production process using hardware under the control of software.


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