The Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office decided that computer simulations have a "technical effect" and can be patentable
THE QUESTIONS SUBMITTED 1. By interlocutory decision T 489/14 of February 22, 2019 (OJ EPO 2019, A86, the "referring decision"), the Technical Board of Appeal 3.5.07 (the "Referring Chamber") of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (the "Grand Chamber") on the basis of Article 112 (1) (a) EPC the following legal questions (the "questions referred") submitted for decision:
1. When assessing inventive step, can the computer-implemented simulation of a technical system or process solve a technical problem by creating a technical effect that goes beyond the implementation of the Simulation on one computer goes beyond if the computer-implemented Simulation is claimed as such?
2A] If the answer to the first question is yes, what are the relevant criteria for assessing whether a computer-implemented simulation claimed as such is a technical problem solves?
2B] In particular, is it a sufficient condition that the simulation is based at least in part on technical principles that the simulated system or underlying process?
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3. What are the answers to the first and second questions, if the computer-implemented simulation as part of a Design process is claimed, especially for verification of a design?
You can find the exact reason and treatment of the three questions right here.
Conclusion of the judgment:
.For these reasons, it is decided that the questions of law referred to the Enlarged Board of Appeal should be answered as follows:
1. A computer-implemented simulation of a technical system or method that is claimed as such can solve a technical problem for the assessment of inventive step by producing a technical effect that goes beyond the implementation of the simulation in a computer.
2. It is not a sufficient condition for this assessment that the simulation is wholly or partially based on technical principles on which the simulated system or process is based.
3. The answers to the first and second questions are no different when the computer-implemented simulation is claimed as part of a design process, in particular for checking a design.