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Israel's patent office held a consultation on software patents in November 2009. A legislative proposal may be coming in 2010.

Contents

[edit] 2010 consultation

[edit] Submissions

[edit] Legislation

Section 3 of the Israeli Patents Law defines what types of innovations are patentable subject matter. It says:

3. An invention, whether a product or a process in any field of technology, which is new and useful and capable of industrial application and which involves an inventive step - is a patentable invention.

This text was brought into force on in January 2000 in reaction to the TRIPS treaty.

There is a lot of discussion about the obviously problematic term "technology", and there is also a lot of discussion with the term "per se" (maybe this is somewhere else in the Israeli law books).

[edit] Patent office decisions

[edit] September 2006: software patents abolished

In September 2006, the Commissioner of Patents in Israel invalidated a patent titled "Method of Promoting the Sale of Goods and/or Services". All parties agreed that this was a business method patent.

The patent was rejected by the Commissioner on the grounds that it failed to meet the "field of technology" requirement of the Israeli Patents Law.

Commentators Hausman and Berdugo (patent lawyers?) note that the Commissioner did say patents could be granted on "patentable hardware component and a non-patentable software component", but this confirmation is inconsequential. It just means that hardware innovations are patentable, and if you add some software, the patentability of the hardware innovation isn't affected.

[edit] Software patents returning?

In response to the abolition of software patents, a pro-software-patent lobby group, AIPPI organised a public meeting with the Commissioner and Ehud Hausman (a patent lawyer). Hausman reported in May 2008 that the IPO is now allowing (some? all?) software patents (but is still not granting business method patents).

[edit] Case law

A 2009 presentation by the IPO mentions the case of patent 142049, which was a patent on displaying thumbnail on a website, which was rejected in 2005 by the IPO's Hearing Office when reexamined. The 131733 patent, rejected in September 2006 is an example of a business method patent being rejected by the IPO.

There is also the 1994 decision (thus based on the old, pre-2000 law) of the Jerusalem District Court, C.A. 23/94 (Jerusalem) United Technologies Corporation v. The Registrar of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, District Court Decisions, Vol. 26 (8), 729:

[edit] Patent office presentation

Here's a very interesting presentation (excerpts below) from a member of the Israeli Patent Office: COMPUTERIMPLEMENTEDINVNETIONSTHEISRAELIPATENTOFFIC.ppt

"* Mental processes, ideas and mathematical formulas are not technological
* Writing program code is a mental process and a mathematical procedure
* Only the use of the program has some technical effect, not the program itself
* The computer remains the same when being programmed therefore it is not considered new"[1]

And a slide explaining why a patent on displaying thumbnail images (patent #142049) was rejected by an Israeli court:

"* Merely an idea for content display
* [...]
* Output of a SW program as content is not patentable"[2]

Slide 15 is unclear. It's clarified by a graphic on slide 17 and 18, but without the audio of the presentation, it's impossible to know the context. It's part of his presentation about business method patent #131733:

  • Computer programs can be patented as part of a computerized system[3]

And slide 29:

Example:
1.  A method comprising:
performing step 1; and
performing step 2.
2.  A computer readable medium comprising computer executable instructions adapted to perform the method of claim 1.

Claim 2 allowable if claim 1 is
Can be independent claim[4]

Slide 30:

The logic is that we if we accept the method then we want to offer the inventor protection for every aspect of the invention, including the software that makes the process possible.

In line with the Astron case in the UK[5]

[edit] External links

[edit] Possibly-interesting, to be reviewed

[edit] References

  1. slide 4 from COMPUTERIMPLEMENTEDINVNETIONSTHEISRAELIPATENTOFFIC.ppt
  2. slide 9 from COMPUTERIMPLEMENTEDINVNETIONSTHEISRAELIPATENTOFFIC.ppt
  3. slide 15 from COMPUTERIMPLEMENTEDINVNETIONSTHEISRAELIPATENTOFFIC.ppt
  4. slide 29 from COMPUTERIMPLEMENTEDINVNETIONSTHEISRAELIPATENTOFFIC.ppt
  5. slide 30 from COMPUTERIMPLEMENTEDINVNETIONSTHEISRAELIPATENTOFFIC.ppt


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