The November 2016 edition of the European Patent Office’s Guidelines for Examination recently came into effect.  This new edition contains a section clarifying how the EPO will examine claims on computer-implemented inventions.

This updated guidance provides consistent interpretation of computer program claims by EPO Examiners which would be relevant for both examination and oppositions at the EPO.  The new section sets out claim formulations that avoid clarity objections as well as objections to multiple independent claims in the same category.

Two different situations are discussed in the new section with example claims given:

  1. Inventions where all the method steps can be carried out by a generic computing device
  2. Inventions where one or more method steps require specific hardware