EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal Answers Questions Regarding Patent Eligibility of Technical Simulations

11 March 2021

The EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeal has issued a decision concerning the patent eligibility of technical simulations. Our news item discussing the initial referral can be found here. The Enlarged Board of Appeal’s decision can be found here.

The three questions posed in the referral have been answered by the Enlarged Board of Appeal as follows:

  1. A computer-implemented simulation of a technical system or process that is claimed as such can, for the purpose of assessing inventive step, solve a technical problem by producing a technical effect going beyond the simulation’s implementation on a computer.
  2. For that assessment it is not a sufficient condition that the simulation is based, in whole or part, on technical principles underlying the simulated system or process.
  3. The answers to the first and second questions are no different if the computer-implemented simulation is claimed as part of a design process, in particular for verifying a design.

Our further commentary on the practical ramifications of this decision will follow soon.

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