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Stefan Schohe, Christian Appelt and Heinz Goddar

This chapter outlines the conditions under which software-related inventions are patented in the countries of the European Patent Convention (EPC). Following an outline of the relevant legal provisions and the main doctrines underlying the case law in different jurisdictions, the practice in the three main jurisdictions, namely Germany, the United Kingdom and the European Patent Office, is discussed in depth. A detailed analysis reveals that decisions may vary greatly when it comes to the question of the contribution of software and algorithms to a patentable invention, even when there is a fairly established approach to the examination of software-related inventions. The chapter closes with a comparison of the different approaches, concluding that all of them should lead to similar results, if the entirety of technical features in a claim, both explicit and implicit, is considered.