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May 2013: see German parliament petition against software patents

Germany is part of the European Union, is a signatory of the European Patent Convention, and has significant case law regarding software patents.


[edit] Case law

(See: Case law in Germany)

Germany has a mixed history of rejecting and, more recently, upholding software patents. Germany is a signatory of the European Patent Convention, so this case law will be influential in most of Europe. In 2010, the Germany High Court (BGH) upheld a patent on an XML document formatting system (case Xa ZB 20/08) and one of Microsoft's FAT patents (case X ZR 27/07).

[edit] Legislation

Patentable subject matter is defined by the below quoted part of this law: German original: Bekanntmachung der Neufassung des Patentgesetzes, Vom 16. Dezember 1980 (English translations[?]: Google, bing translator)

(3) Als Erfindungen im Sinne des Absatzes 1 werden insbesondere nicht angesehen:
1. Entdeckungen sowie wissenschaftliche Theorien und mathematische Methoden;
2. ästhetische Formschöpfungen;
3. Pläne, Regeln und Verfahren für gedankliche Tätigkeiten, für Spiele oder für geschäftliche Tätigkeiten sowie Programme für Datenverarbeitungsanlagen;
4. die Wiedergabe von Informationen.
(4) Absatz 3 steht der Patentfähigkeit nur insoweit entgegen, als für die genannten Gegenstände oder Tätigkeiten als solche Schutz begehrt wird.

Possibly of interest is German original: German court ruling "7 O 145/09" (English translations[?]: Google, bing translator) which discusses Sec. 15 para 3 and Sec. 140a para 3 of the German Patent Act, with info related to covenants not to sue.

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