Case G 1/19, being based on T 0489/14, broadly relates to computer-implemented simulations of systems and processes and the technicality of such simulations. T 0489/14 is an appeal against the refusal of European patent application No. 03793825.5, with claims directed to a computer-implemented simulation of an agent moving through an environment as well as to a method of designing a building comprising such a simulation step. The Examining Division refused the application on the ground of lack of inventive step, basically owing to a finding of lack of technical character of the simulation step. The Board of Appeal acknowledged the existence of previous case law (such as T 1227/05) finding that simulations of technical systems can have technical character. At the same time, the Board of Appeal expressed doubts about this and came to the conclusion that it was inclined to go against this previous jurisprudence in the present case. The following questions were referred to the Enlarged Board of Appeal:
- In the assessment of inventive step, can the computer-implemented simulation of a technical system or process solve a technical problem by producing a technical effect which goes beyond the simulation's implementation on a computer, if the computer-implemented simulation is claimed as such?
- If the answer to the first question is yes, what are the relevant criteria for assessing whether a computer-implemented simulation claimed as such solves a technical problem? In particular, is it a sufficient condition that the simulation is based, at least in part, on technical principles underlying the simulated system or process?
- What are the answers to the first and second questions if the computer-implemented simulation is claimed as part of a design process, in particular for verifying a design?