ESR Pollmeier GmbH – Servo Drive Technology

Topic: Software Patents
2000 – 2005

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Software Patents

The European Patent Office EPO has already granted more than 30,000 patents on software innovations. The German Patent Office is also actively granting such patents. These are not patents on inventions in the classical sense but on computer-implemented rules of organisation and calculation (i.e. mathematical methods, plans and rules for thinking and doing business, programs for computers, presentation of information etc).

This practise has, alongside with plans of the European Commission for a directive, sparked vigorous discussions about the subject of software patents.


Commented introduction with many links to general information about patents and about the current software patentability discussion.


Examples of very general software patents and of software patents which are relevant for industrial automation. Special section on fieldbus patents.

Filed Today, Patented Tomorrow?

Ideas which are filed at the patent office today are usually meant to be patented. By looking at exemplary patent applications of a large German electronics corporation, which has been pushing for an extensive patenting practise for many years, you can recognize the direction where we are heading.

Statements and Demands

After a detailed analysis of the current patenting practise, of the EU Directive Proposal, of related literature and of numerous example patents and patent applications as well as extensive discussions with proponents and opponents of software patentability, we have worked out a position paper on software patents, which includes a series of demands.

Plea for a Clear Concept of Technical Inventions (PDF, 236 KB)

Transparencies (translated) for a lecture given at a meeting of the working group "Communication in Industrial Automation" of the German electrical and electronic manufacturers' association ZVEI on 2002-06-05.

Please send any suggestions, comments and critical remarks about to Stefan Pollmeier.