Schiller Medical (Applicant), Technical Board of Appeal 3.4.01, EPO, 11 February 2014, Case No. T 533/09
Technical Board of Appeal 3.4.01 confirms the patentability of an electrical signal. The Board held that under the EPC the notion of invention was not linked to "tangible" (in the sense of "material") subject-matter. Electrical signals, the intensity of which could be measured at any time, in fact fell within the definition of "physical entity".
With the advent of modern analog and digital technology, the question arises whether or not electrical signal forms may be patented. This question has not been answered consistently in different patent systems. Whereas the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found in its (albeit not unanimous) opinion "In re Petrus A.C.M. Nuijten" of September 20, 2007 that a specifically encoded signal was not directed to statutory subject matter, Technical Board of Appeal 3.5.01 of the EPO held in its early decision T 163/85 (Colour television signal/BBC) of 14 March 1989 that a color television signal characterized by technical features of the system in which it occurred did not fall within the exclusions of Article 52(2)(d) EPC.