Software patent-eligibility and patentability between United States, Europe, and Japan

Research project

Matteo Dragoni

Thanks to a few crucial international conventions, legislation concerning Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) is increasingly harmonized. However, especially with regard to patent protection of computer programs, there are some significant differences between the United States and the European Union, with possible ramifications for the level of protection.

Japan, another important economy and a prolific producer of software inventions, offers a sort of “third model” for computer programs’ patent protection. This model differs slightly from both the United States’ and the European Patent Convention’s (EPC) system, although there are similarities.

Dealing with a complex scenario where judicial treatment of computer program inventions often changes quickly, this research aims to further develop the existing analysis of software inventions’ patent-eligibility and patentability in Japan, Europe, and the United States. The final aim is to assess whether the legal differences between these three systems influence the level of protection of computer programs and their patenting trends and practice.