Case Studies - E-commerce breakthrough

In a case which had been pending since 2001, in 2014 we obtained a granted European Patent on appeal at oral proceedings for PayPal’s account verification system. What is perhaps notable about this appeal decision is that, while clearly acknowledging that the invention lay in the field of schemes, rules and methods of doing business, there was a move away from the "mere implementation" test, as applied by the Examination Division; in other words, if even it looks like an administrative or business method, then it is; it is excluded from patentability, and merely implementing it as a computer-implemented method will not alter that. Most inventions are born out of economic necessity, not technical necessity. But if there is a technical insight, a realization that a particular technical implementation will solve a business problem, in a non-obvious way, there is an invention. The EPO could grant more patents for business method inventions like this one, if it tried.

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