Archive for: Art. 52 EPC

Patent law, case file II GSK 85/11

November 22nd, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 30 June 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 595/10 held that the terms “solution of a technical nature” or “technology” are not defined in the European Patent Convention. Thus, the development of these concepts depends on the practice of the EPO. There is no doubt that in practice, the EPO is using much more liberal criteria for assessing the patentability of computer-implemented inventions than in the initial period of application of the EPC. However, this position was not accepted by all parties to the Convention. In addition, the Enlarged Board of Appeal on 12 May 2010, refused to resolve the problem presented by the President of the EPO, on the interpretation of the exclusion of computer programs “as such” in the context of the criteria for patentability of inventions relating to computer programs, leaving the question to practice. It can be concluded that the practice of liberalization of evaluation criteria for patentability of computer-implemented inventions was not accepted by all experts of the EPO. There are cases of the EPO that were based on the same provisions of the Convention but came with divergent decisions, as well as cases in which almost identical provisions of the Convention and national laws are interpreted, respectively, by the EPO or national bodies in different ways. This case concerned the International Patent Application PCT/EP99/08958 “Record carrier, apparatus and method for playing back a record carrier, method of manufacturing a record carrier”.

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 19 March 2012 case file II GSK 85/11 reversed the contested judgment and the decision of the PPO. The Court held that the decree of the President of the Polish Patent Office on the patentability of inventions has an internal character, and it can not be the basis of the justification of the decision.

Patent law, case II GSK 245/10

March 18th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in a judgment of 15 November 2009, case file VI SA/Wa 906/09 ruled that the scope of the European patent is the same as in the case of a national patent granted, and the case law of individual member states presents different approaches to the examination of the patentability of inventions using computer software. Article 27 of the PCT cannot be treated as a ban on the use of individual interpretation to assess the patentability of the invention for the protection of which one is applying. Article 27(5) of the PCT provides that the contracting States have flexibility in setting the conditions for patentability.

In this case, the PPO exhaustively referred to the fact of the grant of an European patent for the questioned invention and indicated the reasons for which it did not grant patent rights in Poland. Undoubtedly for the VAC, it was hard not to notice the importance of the referral by the President of the European Patent Office (EPO), to the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO on the fundamental issues relating to the interpretation of articles 52 EPC in relation to computer programs. See case G 3/08, application filed on 22 October 2008. The questions asked by Alison Brimelow reflect the concerns and divergent interpretations which source is located in the line of EPO case law aiming to over-extend the concept of “patentability of inventions”. At the date of hearing of the case the mentioned referral was not considered by the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO. Therefore, the unified position on the examination of the patentability of inventions using computer programs/software, which could be addressed by Member bound by EPC, did not exist yet. Given the above, the VAC held that the complaint should be dismissed because it did not include proper basis.

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 10 February 2011 case file II GSK 245/10 reversed this judgment and set the case back to the VAC for reconsideration.

See also “Patent law, case VI SA/Wa 2566/08“.