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France is part of the European Union and is a signatory of the European Patent Convention.

A possible business method patent upheld

The Informa v Catalina Marketing rulings, in June 2002 and April 2004, French courts upheld the patentability of a system for printing out discount coupons based on the information from a barcode reader. The French courts ruled that it wasn't a business method patent.[1]

AIPPI, a pro-swpat lobby group, says that it is a business method patent, and thus claims business methods are patentable in France.[2] [3] [4]

Quoting AIPPI's brief, page 10:

A recent case for which French and European decisions were taken simultaneously in the field of business methods concerns EP 0 995 161 and a corresponding French patent 97/08712 (INFOMIL “Device, method and computerised cashing system for automatic delivery of discount coupons”). The French Court revoked the French patent, in a first instance. A decision of an Opposition Division (confirmed by a European Board of Appeal TOll6/06) revoked the European Patent. The French Court and the European Board of Appeal came to the same conclusions invention not excluded from patentability but lacking inventive step.

/ The French Court indicates that “the fact that the result is to provide a commercial advantage end to participate in the marketing of a store is not to be considered as what is protected is the computer system”. The Court concludes that the invention is not excluded from patentability. Then, the Court considers that the distinctive feature with respect to prior art “is implemented in an existing system and does not require any inventive effort; it only requires that a computer technician programs this additional feature into the content of a file already in place to obtain the improvement.” The Court concludes that no inventive step is then involved.

Patent office decisions

An equivalent patent, later published as US5159668, was filed at the USPTO on the same day under the title:

Method and apparatus for manipulating outlines in improving digital typeface on raster output devices

The application filed in France was titled:

Procédé et système de manipulation des esquisses d'une image de symbole dans différentes dimensions et par différents déplacements de points pour améliorer une figure de caractère numérique sur un dispositif de sortie à trame,

Which roughly translates to:

Procedure and system for manipulating symbol image outlines in various dimensions and by moving various points to improve the digital character's shape on a "frame output" system.


France's patent legislation: French original: Code de la propriété intellectuelle (English translations[?]: Google, bing translator)

Related pages on ESP Wiki

External links

Case law