UK court offers hope to software patent applicants
The UK Intellectual Property Office could be forced to revise a practice note it issued in November 2006 after the Patents Court last week ruled that it cannot automatically ban the patenting of all computer programs
In the judgment issued on Friday, in an appeal brought to
the Patents Court by four companies against a decision of the
UK IP Office, Mr Justice Kitchin said that the Office was wrong
to reject all patent claims to computer program products.
I have reached the conclusion that claims to computer
programs are not necessarily excluded by Article 52 [of the
European Patent Convention], he wrote.
He continued: In a case where claims to a method
performed by running a suitably programmed computer or to a
computer programmed to carry out the method are allowable then,
in principle, a claim to the program itself should also be
allowable. I say in principle because the claim
must be drawn to reflect the features of the invention which
would ensure the patentability of the method which the program
is intended to carry out when it is run....
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