Earlier today (10 March 2021), the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) has issued its eagerly-awaited decision in G1/19, regarding the patentability of computer-implemented simulations.

The EBA confirmed that just like any other computer-implemented invention, numerical simulations may be patentable if an inventive step can be based on features contributing to the technical character of the claimed simulation method.

The EBA declined to set out specific criteria that would assist in assessing technical character, on the grounds that it is never possible to give an exhaustive list of criteria for assessing whether a computer-implemented process solves a technical problem by producing a technical effect that goes beyond the implementation of the process on a computer.

The EBA’s starting position was that a simulation is necessarily based on the principles underlying the simulated system or process.  However, even if these principles could be described as technical, this does not necessarily give the simulation a technical character.  As the EBA put it:

“ … it is neither a sufficient nor a necessary condition that a numerical simulation is based, at least in part, on technical principles that underlie the simulated system or process.”

The EBA did not see that these principles change if a simulation is claimed as part of a design process.

Further comments on the decision and its likely impact will follow. If you have any urgent questions please contact Pawel Piotrowicz.

Click here for EPO’s Press Communiqué on decision G 1/19 of the Enlarged Board of Appeal.

For more updates on the G1/19 case, click here.