Patentability of software
The judgement of the German Supreme Court of 13th December 1999
X ZB 11/98 – Digital Circuits
In order to answer the question whether a programme for data processing systems has the technical dimension required for patent protection under § 1 (1) of the Patent Act, the object to be patented has to undergo evaluative examination.
If the proposed solution is concerned with an intermediate step in the process resulting in the production of (silicon) chips, it can be excluded from patent protection. Notwithstanding the processes which take place in the electronic computer however, this is not on the grounds that it refrains from exploiting controllable natural forces directly and seeks to exploit the possibility of manufacturing suitable products by means of findings based on technical considerations (departure from the ruling of the German Supreme Court Z 115, 32 = NJW 1992, 374 – Chinese characters).