A computer-implemented invention (CII) is one which involves the use of a computer, computer network or other programmable apparatus, where one or more features are realised wholly or partly by means of a computer program.
The following collection of hyperlinks is provided in order to facilitate access to the sections of the Guidelines for Examination in the EPO which give instructions particularly useful for the search and examination of CIIs.
It is noted that this collection is not a separate publication about CIIs. Instead, following a hyperlink will lead to the section of the most recent and applicable version of the Guidelines which has the stated number and title.
The collection of sections essentially comprises the teaching about assessing patentability requirements, in particular in case of claims comprising a mix of technical and non-technical features, which are common in CII. Sections providing teaching about how to evaluate features related to the list of Article 52(2) are included as well as sections describing the search practice and requirements of Article 83 and Article 84.
The collection of sections should not be regarded as an exhaustive list. The whole of the Guidelines apply for any European patent application or patent.
As with the rest of the Guidelines, the updating of sections relating particularly to CIIs is an ongoing process to take account of developments in European patent law and practice. The list below also serves to point out which sections have recently been updated as indicated by the dates which follow the section title.
G‑I, 1 Basic Patentability requirements
G‑I, 2 Further requirements
G‑II, 1 General remarks (updated in GL 2022)
G‑II, 2 Examination practice (updated in GL 2022)
Features related to the list of Art. 52(2) and technical contribution
G‑II, 3.3 Mathematical methods (updated in GL 2022)
– G‑II, 3.3.1 Artificial intelligence and machine learning (introduced in GL 2018)
– G‑II, 3.3.2 Simulation, design or modelling (updated in GL 2022)
G‑II, 3.4 Aesthetic creations
G‑II, 3.5 Schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business
– G‑II, 3.5.1 Schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts (updated in GL 2022)
– G‑II, 3.5.2 Schemes, rules and methods for playing games (updated in GL 2022)
– G‑II, 3.5.3 Schemes, rules and methods for doing business (introduced in GL 2018)
G‑II, 3.6 Programs for computers (updated in GL 2018)
– G‑II, 3.6.1 Examples of further technical effects (introduced in GL 2018)
– G‑II, 3.6.2 Information modelling, activity of programming and programming languages (introduced in GL 2018)
– G‑II, 3.6.3 Data retrieval, formats and structures (updated in GL 2022)
– G‑II, 3.6.4 Database management systems and information retrieval (introduced in GL 2021)
G‑II, 3.7 Presentations of information (updated in GL 2018)
– G‑II, 3.7.1 User interfaces (updated in GL 2021)
Novelty and inventive step
G‑VII, 5.4 Claims comprising technical and non-technical features (updated in GL 2022)
– G‑VII, 5.4.1 Formulation of the objective technical problem (updated in GL 2022)
– G‑VII, 5.4.2 Examples of applying the COMVIK approach (updated in GL 2022)
– G‑VII, 22.214.171.124 Example 1
– G‑VII, 126.96.36.199 Example 2
– G‑VII, 188.8.131.52 Example 3
– G‑VII, 184.108.40.206 Example 4 (updated in GL 2022)
– G‑VII, 220.127.116.11 Example 5 (introduced in GL 2022)
B‑VIII, 2.2 Subject-matter excluded from patentability under Art. 52(2) and (3) (introduced in GL 2015)
– B‑VIII, 2.2.1 Computer-implemented business methods (updated in GL 2015)
Requirements of Art. 84 EPC
F‑IV, 3.9 Claims directed to computer-implemented inventions (introduced in GL 2016, with its sub-sections)
– F‑IV, 3.9.1 Cases where all method steps can be fully implemented by generic data processing means
– F‑IV, 3.9.2 Cases where method steps define additional devices and /or specific data processing means (updated in GL 2021)
– F‑IV, 3.9.3 Cases where the invention is realised in a distributed computing environment (introduced in GL 2018)
Requirements of Art. 83 EPC
F‑III, 1 Sufficiency of disclosure (see par. 4)
Formal requirements for the description part
F‑II, 4.12 Computer programs