Two specific cumulative criteria must be taken into account in assessing whether the mathematical method in an invention can contribute to its technical character
1) the mathematical model’s “application to a field of technology”
2) the mathematical model’s adaptability to “a specific technical implementation”
EPO even provides with specific examples of the first criteria “application to a field of technology”, e.g:
“neural network in a heart-monitoring apparatus for the purpose of identifying irregular heartbeats makes a technical contribution”
the “classification of digital images, videos, audio or speech signals based on low-level features”.
On the other hand, classifying text documents solely in respect of their textual or abstract data records or “telecommunication network data records” without any indication of a technical use being made of the resulting classification are AI and ML inventions excluded from patentability. Such types of operations cannot be regarded as primary technological, despite their mathematical properties.
Despite their flexibility, the measures and criteria set by the European Patent Office put some boundaries on which AI and ML inventions are subject to patent registration. In this rapidly evolving area, the provision of their legal protection within the European Union still seems to be a great challenge for inventors and developers.
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