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Case Law of the Boards of Appeal

 
 
4.3. Surgical methods

G 1/07 (OJ 2011, 134) marked an important turning point in the boards' case law on the exclusion of surgical methods from patentability. Whilst the Enlarged Board endorsed the existing basic approach to multi-step methods (see point 4.3.1 below), it rejected the practice followed by the EPO thus far of broadly construing interventions of a surgical nature. It did not redefine the term "treatment by surgery", but indicated the direction in which it expected future practice and case law to develop. According to G 1/07, the required new direction is that the exclusion from patentability should not be applied to methods in respect of which the interests of public health, of protection of patients and as a counterpart to that of the freedom of the medical profession to apply the treatment of choice to their patients does not call for their exclusion from patentability (see point 4.3.3 below).