Qu'est ce qu'une “invention mise en oeuvre par ordinateur”

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Publié le : jeudi 21 juillet 2011
Lecture(s) : 282
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Qu’est-ce qu’une “Invention mise en oeuvre par ordinateur” ?
Groupe de travail
Unemachinea`laveravecordinateurembarque´?Ouunprogrammege´ne´riquedetraitement dedonn´ees?Dansleursdiscourspublics,lespartisansdelapropositiondedirectivedelUEsur labrevetabilite´deslogicielsdisentquilsneveulentpasdebrevetssurdepurslogicielsmais seulementsurdesinventionsmisesenoeuvreparordinateur,entendantsignierparla`surdes machinesa`laveretdeste´le´phonesmobiles.Larticle2delapropositionelle-meˆmedittoutautre chose, tout comme les annales et les pratiques de l’OEB accordant des brevets sur les “inventions mises en oeuvre par ordinateur”.
Est-ce qu’une machine a laver peuteˆtreuneinventionmise en oevre par ordinateur”? SeulementlesProgrammes sont “mis en oevre par ordinateur”. 1 Selon l’Art 52 CBE les programmespourordinateurs ne sont pas des inventions au sense de la loi des brevets.
The term “computer-implemented invention” is not used by computer professionals. It is in fact not in wide use at all. It was introduced by the European Patent Office (EPO) in May 2000 in 2 Appendix 6 of the Trilateral Conference, where it served to legitimate business method patents, so as to bring EPO practise in line with the USA and Japan. Much of the European Commission’s directive proposal is based on wordings from this “Appendix 6”. The term “computer-implemented invention” is a programmatic statement. It implies that calculation rules framed in terms of the general-purpose computer are patentable inventions. This implication is in contradiction with Art 52 EPC, according to which algorithms, business methods and programs for computers are not inventions in the sense of patent law. Programmers speak about “implementing a specification”. A patent claim usually specifies a sequence of events (i.e. a program) which could beimplementedby a programmer or by an engineer. “Implementation” in this context means “working it out in detail so that it can run without errors”. The implementation requires human work. It is never done by a computer, and in fact computers will usually not play any role in it at all, beyond that of an auxiliary tool for checking the validity of logical concepts, similar to pencil and paper. Moreover, the programmer would not say that she is implementing an “invention”, no matter how new and admirable the specification is. Rather she might be implementing an algorithm, an idea or, more often, a complex combination of such abstract elements. Real advances in the art of
2. http://swpat.ffii.org/papiers/epo-tws-app6/index.en.html
programming are generally of abstract nature and therefore would usually not be referred to as “inventions” by the person skilled in the art. A term like “computer-executed innovations” or simply “data processing innovations” would have been less conducive to misunderstanding. However misunderstanding was exactly what the proponents wanted. The proponents of patents on “computer-implemented inventions” sometimes say that it refers only to “washing machines, mobile phones, intelligent household appliances ...” and “not com-puter programs as such”. However this is untrue. The term as defined in the EPO’s Trilateral Appendix 6 and in the Commission’s Directive Proposal refers to nothing but data manipulation processes running on general-purpose computing equipment. Even if the extremely rare cases where a conventional washing machine is involved in a patent claim which EPO/CEC would subsume under “computer-implemented inventions”, the gist of the “invention” will lie in data processing, not in applying heat and reactants to clothes. Otherwise this would, according to the EPO/CEC definitions, no longer be a “computer-implemented invention” but rather an ordinary technical invention (which does not match the CII definition, because its “prima facie novel” aspect is unrelated to computers). The European Parliament has redefined the term “computer-implemented invention” in such a way that general-purpose data processing does not qualify while a washing machine, where data processing has only an auxiliary function and is not constitutive for the invention, would qualify. This amendment is fiercely opposed by the European Commission and by all those who earlier claimed that they want only washing machines and the like but not programs as such to be patentable. While the redefinition of the European Parliament constitutes a clever way of correcting a central flaw of the proposed directive, it does not make the text much clearer. The misleading term “computer-implemented invention” continues to be used, and it will continue to mislead all those people who have not carefully read and memorised the EP definition.
1 AaiesdthodrM´eersOEB20050-0:91-maxEedneppsAcaliontiousp
Document de l’OEB, datant de 2000 et introduisant le terme d’“invention mise en oeuvreparordinateurpourle´gitimerlade´livrancedebrevetssurdesprogrammes dordinateurousurdesm´ethodesdansledomainedesactivit´es´economiques,en comple`tecontradictionaveclalettreetlespritdelaloi,alignantainsilespratiques juridiqueseurope´ennessurcellesdesOcesdeBrevetsam´ericainsetjaponais. LOEB´ecrit:
Lexpressioninventionmiseenoeuvreparordinateurestpre´vuepour couvrirlesrevendicationsde´signantdesordinateurs,desre´seauxdordi-nateursoudautresappareilsnum´eriquesprogrammablesconventionnels aveclesquels,a`premi`erevue,lapportennouveaute´delinventionreven-dique´eestr´ealise´parlebiaisdunouplusieursprogrammesnouveaux. [. . . ] Laseuleraisonapparentedefaireunedistinctiondanslad´ecisionentre deseetstechniquesetdeseetsencoreplustechniquese´taitlapre´sence de “programmes d’ordinateur” dans la liste des exclusions de l’Article 52(2)delaCEB.Si,commecesta`pre´voir,cete´l´ementestsupprime´ delalisteparlaConf´erenceDiplomatique,unetelledistinctionnaura plus aucun fondement. On peut en conclure que la Grande Chambre des Recoursauraitpre´f´ere´pouvoirdirequaucuneinventionmiseenoeuvre parordinateurn´etaitexcluedelabrevetabilite´parlesclausesdesArticles 52(2) et (3) de l’OEB.
CECSA&Burrendresitionpo02P:orop02200--2erbselit-evleesuttosueed´si 2 tables
LArticle2delapropositiondelaCommissiond´enituneinventionmiseen oeuvreparordinateurconforme´mentaux´ele´mentsdelAnnexe6:
UneInventionmiseenoeuvreparordinateurd´esignetouteinvention dontlexe´cutionimpliquelutilisationdunordinateur,dunr´eseaudor-dinateursoudunautreappareilprogrammableetpr´esentantuneouplu-sieurscaract´eristiquesa`premie`revuenouvellesquisontr´ealis´eestotale-ment ou en partie au moyen d’un ou de plusieurs programmes d’ordina-teurs.
1. http://swpat.ffii.org/papiers/epo-tws-app6/index.en.html 2. http://swpat.ffii.org/papiers/eubsa-swpat0202/index.en.html
natnese´rptnemedenAmalrpposoisitnoa`re-propotunecontreitladeioitetnd 3 directive
Expliquee´galementcequineconvientpasdanslexpressioninventionmiseen oeuvre par ordinateur”.
4 EPO 1990: T 0022/85
Cetted´ecisiondelOEBdatantde1984montrequelinterpre´tationante´rieurede lexpressionprogrammedordinateurestexactementcelleappliqu´eeen2000au nouveau terme “invention mise en oeuvre par ordinateur”.
Ce qu’est une “Invention mise en oeuvre par
5 ordinateur”
6 DE Justice Ministry 03-09-26: Only ABS Inventions, not Software as Such
In a statement on the European Parliament’s Vote, the patent law department of the German Ministry of Justice (BMJ) evades the question of whether the EP drew the right kind of limits. Instead the BMJ says that the term “software patents” is misleading because “pure source codes are not patentable” and only “computer-implemented inventions” are patentable. As an example of a “computer-implemented invention”, the BMJ mentions the “anti-blocking system”. The BMJ does not ans-wer the question of whether a system and method involving only general-purpose computing equipment is a “computer-implemented invention”. But it becomes clear from the text that they want nothing to be excluded from patentability and they imply that the EPC should be interpreted in this way. However they fail to clearly say that, thereby misleading less attentive readers. The BMJ’s only contribution to the debate has so far consisted in attempts to impose misleading terminology, so as to be able to justify whatever the patent judiciary may chose to do. 7 voiraussiPE2003-09-24:DirectiveBrevetsLogicielsAmende´es,Minist`ereFe´d´eral 8 deJusticeetBrevetsLogicielsetConseildelUnionEurope´enneetBrevetsLo-9 giciels
3. http://swpat.ffii.org/papiers/eubsa-swpat0202/prop/index.fr.html#tit 4. http://legal.european-patent-office.org/dg3/biblio/t850022ep1.htm 5. http://elis.ugent.be/ jmaebe/swpat/cii.html 6. http://swpat.ffii.org/papiers/europarl0309/bmj030926/index.de.html 7. http://swpat.ffii.org/papiers/europarl0309/index.fr.html 8. http://swpat.ffii.org/acteurs/bmj/index.de.html 9. http://swpat.ffii.org/acteurs/consilium/index.en.html
10 Amendment 36=42=117
The European Parliament voted for a redefinition of the “computer-implemented invention”. Thereby it removed the damaging effects of this term within the di-rective. However the term “computer-implemented invention” is still in the title of the directive and will therefore continue to mislead all those people who have not taken the time to carefully read the redefinition.
inventionmiseenoeuvreparordinateurd´esignetouteinventionausens delaConventionsurlebreveteurop´eendontlexe´cutionimpliquelutili-sationdunordinateur,dunre´seauinformatiqueoudunautreappareil programmableetpr´esentantdanssamiseenoeuvreuneouplusieursca-racte´ristiquesnontechniquesquisontre´alis´eestotalementouenpartie parunouplusieursprogrammesdordinateurs,enplusdescaract´eristiques techniques que toute invention doit apporter;
11 Autodesk Testimony against Software Patents
In his testimony at the USPTO 1994 hearings, Jim Warren, board member of the US software giant Autodesk Inc, objected against the patent lawyer newspeak term “software related inventions”, which is still not quite as biased as “computer-implemented inventions”:
Cestpourquoi,jeprotesterespectueusementcontreletitredonn´e`aces auditionsInventionsRelativesauxLogicielspuisquevousnˆetespas essentiellementconcerne´spardesgadgetscontrˆol´esparlogiciel.Letitre illustreunpartiprisinappropri´eetprˆetants´erieusementa`confusion.En fait,enplusdunquartdesie`cleentantqueprofessionneldesordinateurs etobservateuret´ecrivaindanscetteindustrie,jenemesouvienspas avoirjamaisentenduouluunetellephraseexcepte´danslecontextedes revendicationsjuridiquespourlemonopole,ou`lesdemandeursessayaient dede´naturerlatraditiondebrevetagedese´quipementsandemonopoliser lex´ecutiondesprocessusintellectuels.
10. http://swpat.ffii.org/papiers/eubsa-swpat0202/plen0309/index.fr.html#Am36 11. http://www.base.com/software-patents/statements/autodesk.html
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