The opinion G0003/08 of the Enlarged Board of Appeals from May 12, 2010 confirmed the standing practice of the EPO with regards to the patentability of computer implemented inventions. This EBoA opinion now provides a high degree of reliability with regards to the patentability of computer implemented inventions in Europe.
Basically G0003/08 confirms the modified problem solution approach, which was defined by the Board of Appeals in a landmark decision (COMVIK/Simcard decision) in 2002 with regards to the inventive step threshold for computer implemented inventions. The essence of this decision is that non-technical features in a patent claim cannot contribute to the inventive step of the invention. That is, although a software invention is not excluded from patentability if there is at least one technical feature present in the claim, it must be the differentiating features over the prior art having such technical character to meet the requirement of inventive step in the EPC.