The last patentability requirement in this module is industrial applicability. According to Article 57 EPC, “an invention shall be considered as susceptible of industrial application if it can be made or used in any kind of industry, including agriculture”.

European Patent Convention
Article 57 EPC: Industrial application

“Industry” is understood in its broad sense as including any physical activity of a “technical character”, i.e. an activity which belongs to the useful or practical arts as opposed to the aesthetic arts, but does not necessarily imply the use of a machine or the manufacture of an article and could cover, for example, a process for dispersing fog or for converting energy from one form to another.

It is important to highlight the difference between being susceptible of industrial application and being excluded from patentability (Article 52 EPC). The latter comprises aspects regarded as non-inventions such as discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods, aesthetic creations, methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, programs for computers and presentations of information.

European Patent Convention
Article 52 EPC: Patentable inventions
An administrative method of stock control is not patentable under Article 52(2)(c), which excludes methods for doing business, even though it could be applied to factory storerooms for spare parts and therefore be susceptible of industrial applicability.

Applications concerning inventions relating to devices that allegedly operate in clear violation of well-established physical laws (e.g. perpetual motion machines) are rejected on the basis of Article 57 EPC.

To assess this specific requirement, there are no fixed legal texts such as those seen for inventive step or novelty. Instead, careful attention is paid to the uses of the claimed invention to determine whether it is likely to be industrially applicable.

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