ESR Pollmeier GmbH – Servo Drive Technology

Software Patents
2000 – 2005

IntroductionExamplesFiled Today, Patented Tomorrow?Statement

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The DPMA (DE-PTO, German Patent and Trade Mark Office, in charge of industrial property rights such patents, utility certificates, topographies, trademarks and design certificates) explains the basics of patents and other industrial property rights.

The Patent Server (German) of the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

The European Commission has presented on 2002-02-20 a proposal for the "patentability of computer-implemented inventions". This proposal and its preparations – which have been running since 1997 without much attention being paid to them by software developing professional circles – have sparked off a debate about software patents.

The German government's Monopoly Commission has in it XIVth Expert Opinion (German) "Net Competition by Regulation" (published on 2002-07-08) studied the question of software patentability, see

The FFII (Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure) is one of the best known critics of the current software patenting practise and of the European Commission's directive proposal. The FFII website contains detailed information about the current discussion.

The Eurolinux Alliance criticizes the patenting practise and the EU directive proposal.

Positions of industry associations concerning the European Commission's directive proposal


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 note: The software and hardware names, company names, and brand names used in this text may be subject to trademark, registered trademark, or patent protection.

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