Nowadays, computers have become an influential tool in society not only for its continuous and enlarge use in social networks but also as an important tool for different research, development and economical purposes. In fact, human being has considered the importance of computers such that there is a science focused to the same which is computer sciences.
In industrial property, the number of patent applications related to computer implemented methods has increased in the last decade and it seems the numbers will continue increasing due the implementation of new boom technologies as blockchain and artificial intelligence. Some of these technologies are close related to computer programs (algorithms) or methods for carrying out a business which are prohibited in some countries or regions based on local laws.
Mexico is one of such countries prohibiting this type of matter based on local legislation. Notwithstanding, it does mean that applicants and/or inventors cannot look for a protection and indeed a recommendation is to file patent applications containing implemented computer methods when proper.
Blockchain and artificial intelligence as computer implemented methods in Mexico
A reality is that some applicants and/or inventors are developing these technologies in order to improve specific fields. Despite, such new developments are algorithms banned under local legislation, there is a chance to protect them not only by means of a patent application but also as copyright (the computer program or algorithm) and industrial designs (the graphic user interface).
Regarding the algorithm, it is possible to cover it as a patent application but taking care the patent application contains computer implemented methods. For example, artificial intelligence could be used for detecting possible genetic disorders in a newborn or for saving energy in a place. Therefore, the methods for performing the previous tasks may be computer implemented methods.
It is worth noting that blockchain and artificial intelligence being relative new technologies must pass through an adaptation process concerning industrial property.
Computer implemented methods in multiple fields
Nowadays, Mexico has increased its numbers of patent applications either from national or international applicants containing computer implemented methods related to specific areas as electronics but also to pharmaceutics and biotechnology in which there are issues performed in a computer.
In biotechnology, there are algorithms used for performing specific tasks, e.g., an algorithm for analysing the probability of a recurrent cancer or for detecting genetic disorders in a patient. Besides protecting such algorithms using copyright, there is an opportunity to protect them as a computer implemented methods in a patent application when and if the method does not recite a computer program.
Fortunately, the Mexican patent office has granted patents related to computer implemented methods for different fields as electronics, biotechnology and pharmaceutics, but such granting depends on a base by case basis.
Automatizing a method into a computer implemented method
In most of the cases, processes normally performed by a human being can be implemented in a computer. Unfortunately, the automatization of such processes in a computer are not always considered as patentable under Mexican practice.
For example, a method to stock products which normally was performed by a human being. In that hypothetical example, the automatized method may have a chance of granting when the automatized or computer implemented method contains tangible or non-tangible technical features. In this regard, tangible technical features refer to hardware and non-tangible technical features may be for example an encrypting or coding method or others different to software.
Hence, when automatizing a process into a computer implemented method, the presence of novel tangible and/or non-tangible technical features increases the likelihood of a granting. Otherwise, the computer implemented method must be carefully reviewed.
Computer programs different to artificial intelligence as computer implemented methods
It is worth noting that there are some circumstances in which the patent office has granted computer programs as computer implemented methods when and if such methods do not recite computer programs. For example, an algorithm using data structure which saves hardware may be acceptable when the algorithm is drafted as a computer implemented method without referring to a computer program.
In summary, computer implemented methods are recommendable and acceptable in Mexico, but the granting depends on a base by case basis.
Alejandro Moreno Hernández
Author biography: Alejandro Moreno Hernández, Engineer in Electronic and Communications.
Alejandro has more than 5 years’ experience in intellectual property matters, including patent application drafting and filing, novelty and patent landscape searching, infringement and validity advices.
Alejandro has a BSc (2017), from Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM).