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Applicants forced to rethink software patent strategies

Emma Barraclough, London

Patent applicants hoping that the Court of Appeal in London would give a judicial green light for the UK patent authorities to take a more liberal approach to business method and software patents were disappointed by the eagerly awaited ruling in the Macrossan case, handed down on October 27. They now have to reassess their patenting strategies.

The three judges, Lord Justice Chadwick, Lord Justice Jacob and Lord Justice Neuberger, backed a decision by the UK Patent Office to refuse to grant Australian entrepreneur and solicitor Neal Macrossan a patent for a computer-based system he designed to help people complete the forms required to register a company. But in a highly unusual step, they recommended the European patent-granting authority consider the issue to provide additional clarification....

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