Guidelines on patentability of software in Israel

The Israeli Patent Registrar ruled last week that a claimed invention restricted to a process executed by computer software, is not a patent-eligible subject matter. The ruling was announced in a policy statement issued by the Registrar Dr. Meir Noam. It puts an end to a lengthy public hearing during which a wide range of views were presented to the Registrar, including views presented by academic experts, software professionals and patent attorneys. The following provides the Patent Office policy concerning computer software:
  1. The invention, defined in the claims, must be directed to a technology as defined in clause 3 of the Israeli Patent Law (1967) (hereinafter the "Law").
  2. The invention should be defined in the claims and is examined as a whole without dissecting the claimed subject matter to software and hardware elements. Examination evaluates the contribution of the examined invention in view of the state of the art at the time of filing.
  3. The invention as a whole should contribute to technological advancement.
  4. The claimed invention should be both novel and include an "inventive step in view of clauses 3-5 ofthe Patent Law.
  5. When a claimed method merely recites software steps, such method will not be considered patentable. Software on its own cannot be regarded as a technological expression, as it is protected by copyrights.