examples of european software patents

Arnoud Galactus Engelfriet galactus at stack.nl
Fri May 17 07:19:30 UTC 2002

Wim De Smet wrote:
> recently I've heard somebody say that for software patents you need to 
> submit the source code and therefore make it public. 

That's not correct. As part of the patent application, you need to
include a "complete description" of the invention, so that someone
else is able to re-implement it. For software-related inventions,
you typically do that with flow charts, pseudo-code and functional

In fact, in Europe you're not allowed to include a complete
reference implementation in the patent application. The EPO says:

In the particular case of inventions in the computer field, program
listings in programming languages cannot be relied on as the sole
disclosure of the invention. The description, as in other technical
fields, should be written substantially in normal language, possibly
accompanied by flow diagrams or other aids to understanding, so that
the invention may be understood by those skilled in the art who are
deemed not to be programming specialists. Short excerpts from
programs written in commonly used programming languages can be
accepted if they serve to illustrate an embodiment of the invention.

> I'm rather 
> convinced this is not right. Could somebody point me to some simple 
> examples I can give, so I have more to backup my statements?

What exactly are you looking for? Examples of software patents?
Or patents that include pieces of source code?



Arnoud Engelfriet, (almost) Dutch patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies:  http://www.iusmentis.com/

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