Recital 16









15 = 231

Rocard; Lichtenberger, Frassoni


Thus, an algorithm or computer program, which are inherently non-technical, can never be regarded as inventions. A computer-controlled technical procedure might be patentable to the extent that this process has characteristics which make it a technical contribution. However, any patent granted for such a process may not establish a monopoly on the algorithm or the program itself, as programs as such cannot be patentable, as stated in particular in Article 52(2)(c) of the European Patent Convention.

232 = 233 = 234 = 235

Kauppi; Szejna; Kudrycka and Zwiefka; Bertinotti


Furthermore, an algorithm is inherently non-technical and therefore cannot constitute a technical invention.

The original Council claims that algorithms are patentable if they are used to solve a "technical problem" ("a method involving an algorithm" includes algorithms as such). The EPO uses the problem-solution-effects approach to make pretty much everything, including computer-implemented business methods, patentable. As soon as one of those three things (problem, solution, effects) is technical, it's ok for them.

Examples of technical problems are the fact that you must use less computer memory or use less space on a computer screen. Examples of technical effects are automating something which is known and results in surprising economy of scale benefits.

230 properly deletes the original Council text.

232 = 234 = 235 clarify the Council text by removing the problem-solution approach, which suggests that if the problem is technical, the invention (= the solution) automatically becomes technical as well.

15 = 231 are even more clarifying, by noting that a computer-controlled/aided/assisted technical process is perfectly patentable, and by explaining the meaning of the exclusion of computer programs as such from patentability in the European Patent Convention.

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