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European-Patent-Office.org: Decision on Software Patents

Nov 30, 2000, 07:55 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Roland Grossenbacher)

"This morning, we have reached the end of nine days of intensive deliberations on the revision of the European Patent Convention concluded in 1973. The delegates of the 20 member states of the European Patent Organisation had to consider a catalogue of nearly 100 proposals for revising provisions of the Convention. The aim of this Conference was to modernise the legal basis of the European patent system, and thereby ensure that it can continue to function efficiently in an increasingly integrated European economy within the framework of world trade, and that it will remain capable of evolving in future. This is an important contribution to strengthening the institutions which underpin the European economy."

"The Conference has achieved its ambitious aim, and I am pleased to be able to present the positive results of its efforts today. In front of you, you will find the Revision Act adopted by the Conference - the relevant document is the one bearing the number MR/3/00 Rev. 1. Over the past nine days, the European Patent Organisation has demonstrated that it is willing and able to proceed with due swiftness in reforming the European patent system in order to safeguard its long-term adaptability in the face of rapidly changing political and economic conditions...."

"First, I should point out that the Conference agreed not to delete computer programs from the list of non-patentable inventions. For the meantime, the existing legal position therefore remains unchanged. The Conference's decision took account of the process of consultation on the future of legal protection in this field, and in no way challenges the existing practice of the Office and its boards of appeal, or that of national patent authorities and courts. As before, computer-implemented inventions can be patented if they involve a new and inventive technical contribution to the state of the art. Technical solutions for use in data processing or for carrying out methods of doing business therefore remain patentable."

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