Is any type of subject matter patentable?

Not all new knowledge is patentable. The discovery of America by Columbus is not an invention. Physical phenomena such as atoms, gravity and steam are also not considered patentable. Scientific theories, mathematical formulae, methods for doing business and game rules are not considered inventions in Europe and, therefore are also not patentable. However, the technical application of  information that is not patentable as such can sometimes lead to a patentable invention.

It should be noted that the criteria for what is patentable subject matter are different in Europe and e.g. in the United States. Thus, for some subject matter patents can be obtained in the US, while this will not be possible in Europe (and vice versa).

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