Software and IT

Software and information technology is playing a growing part in almost every sector of the economy and in everyday life. Information technology covers the recording, transfer, processing, management and storage of information with the help of computers and telecommunication devices.

Information technology rests on the basics and specialist areas of computer science as well as on other physical and technical fields. It implies a high degree of innovation. Among the most important developments in IT basic technology are greater storage capacity, faster transmission in nationwide, broadband networks, increasing processor capacity and intelligent information processing. The share of value added from the production of goods and services in information and communication technology is already enormous and is increasing steadily. IT products are playing an increasing part in investments, too. Software as the "intelligence" of hardware is an important feature of technical solutions.

Patent law has heeded these developments by taking account of computer-implemented inventions often referred to in derogatory tones as "software patents". Computer-implemented inventions include computers, computer networks and other traditional, programmable, digital devices, in which the new properties of the claimed invention are brought about by a new programme or programmes. (cf. "What are CIIs?")

Key areas in the development and use of software and information technology are computers and computer accessories and, increasingly, telecommunications, audio and video equipment as well as medical engineering, measurement technology and photography. Software and IT find application in telecommunications, toys and multimedia applications as well as in commerce, the stock exchange, insurance companies, banks and the taxation system. IT is concerned with the networking of machines in manufacturing and production processes across plants and companies (supply chain). IT can be directly connected to business processes, in which interfaces are established between the bus systems which control the machines and the resource planning systems (ERP software).