Thursday, December 18, 2008

UK IPO ignores court of appeal!

Despite the Symbian decision (see: IP Freely: Patentability of software programs) the UK IPO has decided to stick with it's previous test on software patents. The IPO's new guidance says as follows: "Since both tests are legitimate for determining excluded matter, examiners will apply the structured approach of Aerotel/Macrossan to address the fundamental question whether a claim falls solely within the excluded matter...The Office considers that as a matter of practice this will achieve outcomes consistent with the Court of Appeal judgment in Symbian more reliably."

Hmmmm so your just completely ignoring the Court of Appeal then!

"The Intellectual Property Office has previously recognised that an invention which either solves a technical problem external to the computer or solves ...What Symbian has now shown is that improving the operation of a computer by solving a problem arising from the way the computer was programmed – for example, a tendency to crash due to conflicting library program calls – can also be regarded as solving "a technical problem within the computer" if it leads to a more reliable computer."

It went on:

"Thus, a program that results in a computer running faster or more reliably may be considered to provide a technical contribution even if the invention solely addresses a problem in the programming,"

IP Freely is not impressed and is expecting further cases to challenge this approach, you heard this rather vague prediction here first, remember that!

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