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Guidelines for Examination

 
 

3.5 Schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business

These are further examples of items of an abstract or intellectual character. In particular, a scheme for learning a language, a method of solving crossword puzzles, a game (as an abstract entity defined by its rules), modelling information or a scheme for organising a commercial operation would not be patentable. A method of doing business is excluded from patentability even where it implies the possibility of making use of unspecified technical means or has practical utility (see T 388/04). Another example is that of a method for designing a nuclear core loading arrangement, which neither specifies the use of means or measures of a technical nature nor includes the provision of a physical entity as the resulting product (e.g. a reactor core loaded according to the given design). This method may exclusively be carried out mentally and thus lacks technical character, regardless of the complexity of the method or any technical considerations involved (see T 914/02).

However, if the claimed subject-matter specifies an apparatus or a technical process for carrying out at least some part of the scheme, that scheme and the apparatus or process have to be examined as a whole. In particular, if the claim specifies computers, computer networks or other conventional programmable apparatus, a program therefor, or a storage medium carrying the program, for executing at least some steps of a scheme, it may comprise a mix of technical and non-technical features, with the technical features directed to a computer or a comparable programmed device. In these cases, the claim is to be examined as a "computer-implemented invention" (see below).

References

Art. 52(2)(c)