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Is resource usage technical

Is resource usage technical?

Some patent applicants try to mask software ideas as hardware ideas by claiming their innovation is about conserving computer resources. e.g. a way to make a program load or execute faster is a way to make a computer faster.

In Germany: maybe not

Case law in Germany, from 1986 case BGH 1986-03-11: Beschluss Flugkostenminimierung, is summarised by FFII as:[1]

A teaching of how to control an airplane engine so as to diminish use of fuel is not necessarily a technical teaching. In the present case, the examined teaching was not primarily about harnessing the forces of nature but about the use of economic and mathematical knowledge. Therefore the Federal Court of Justice declared this patent invalid.

In the UK: sometimes

In the ruling, Symbian v. Comptroller General (2008, UK), which upheld a software patent, the judge noted:[2]

22. It can also be said in favour of Symbian's case that it would be somewhat arbitrary and unfair to discriminate against people who invent programs which improve the performance of computers against those who invent programs which improve the performance of other machines. However, as against that, what goes on inside a computer can be said to be closer to a mathematical method (which is, of course, not patentable by virtue of art 52(2)(a)) than what goes on inside other machines.

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