There is a general belief that it is not worth applying for patent protection for computer-implemented inventions and software in Europe because the legislation, at first glance, excludes computer programs and business methods from patentability. However, these sorts of exclusions have been modified over the last few years, in many cases allowing companies to seek meaningful patent protection for software both in Europe and the U.S.A.
Mintz Levin Attorneys Anne Campbell and David Wraige of the London based IP Pracitce recently published an article on the changing patent landscape in Cleantech Business News. As Anne and David explain in “Computer-Implemented Inventions – are they patentable?”, many computer-implemented methods are now considered to be more than just a computer program under patent law and may therefore be patentable. To obtain patent protection in Europe, the invention must make a technical contribution to the world. In the cleantech industry for example, computer-implemented control of a solar panel could be patentable. More recently, software that results in an improvement in the efficiency of a computer system has been held to be patentable in the UK.