In most European countries, patent law requires that an invention has to have a technical nature. This requirement is not fulfilled in particular if the patent application or the patent is limited to discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods; aesthetic creations; schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, and programs for computers; or presentation of information.
Especially in the areas of computer programs, (aesthetic) creations as well as the presentation of information there might be problems of differentiation. Thus the jurisdiction and the practice of the respective patent offices should be considered.
The novelty of an invention is given if the invention differs from the relevant prior art. In principle, all information made accessible to the public in writing (patent specifications, magazine articles or other publications), by verbal description (e. g. on the occasion of presentations at conferences or seminars) or by actual activities (e. g. presentations of prototypes) before the application date respectively the priority date of the patent application, belongs to the prior art.
An invention involves an inventive step if a person skilled in the art cannot derive it in an obvious way from the prior art (cf. Article 1 LPI, resp. Article 56 EPC).