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During the past several years, the Registrar has steered Israeli Patent Office practice in general to mirror European Patent Office practice and possibly nowhere is this more apparent as with regard to software inventions. Claims that are directed to computer programs per se are routinely rejected under Section 3 of the Law on the grounds that the invention defined by such claims does not belong to a technological field. In a landmark decision in 2000, he went even further to reject system claims that, in his view, amount to method claims in the guise of pseudo hardware claims having functional elements to carry out the method.
The almost wholesale rejection of software claims has led to criticism of the Registrar’s Decision by the profession and this has resulted in what appears to be some slackening of the Patent Office policy. However, it remains largely true that software claims that are rejected by the European Patent Office are unlikely to be allowed by the Israeli Patent Office. It is not yet entirely clear whether the reverse is also true, i.e. whether claims allowed by the European Patent Office will be allowed in Israel, although it is probably fair to suggest that this is increasingly true.
This being said, hybrid claims that define a novel and inventive interaction between hardware and software should be allowable. For example, a computer program that reduced fuel consumption of a helicopter was found to be patentable. Computer programs that operate in firmware such as telecommunications protocols for mobile telephones are also routinely allowed; claims that express a novel interaction between a computer program and the hardware on which it runs also stand a good chance of being allowed.
Beauregard claims have to be drafted so as to protect a computer-readable medium that stores a computer program for carrying out a given method rather than the computer program per se.