Friday, December 2, 2016

Bloomberg BNA - China Looks to Boost Protection for Software Patents

Bloomberg BNA published an article China Looks to Boost Protection for Software Patents that is worth reading. Here's Bloomberg BNA:

"A draft revision to China’s patent examination guidelines released late last month will likely make it easier to get software and business method patents.

Other proposed changes to ease the standard for amending granted patent claims should also help patent holders and, especially, patent assertion entities, practitioners say.

The draft guidelines follow developments that some have interpreted as evidence of China’s maturing and improving environment for IP owners. The guidelines are not law but rules for instructing examiners at China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) on how to properly examine patent applications.

There is no official timeline for when to expect finalized guidelines, though some expect they could come as early as next year."

As stated in the article, "One of the biggest changes in the guidelines confirms that software and business methods are patentable. They seek to address concerns that some examiners have been too cautious in treating all references to business models or computers as red flags that signal unpatentability. A sentence in the draft explains that claims relating to a business method are not excluded from patentability if they contain sufficient technical features.

Meanwhile, another change clarifies that apparatus claims relating to software can contain both hardware and 'program' components. And the draft changed language that some examiners have interpreted as barring nearly all computer program references. The guidelines clarify that inventions relating to 'computer programs per se' are not patentable because those are rules and methods for mental activities."

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