Friday, February 08, 2008

UK IPO decide not to appeal software patents case

David at IPKat says the UK Intellectual Property Office has decided not appeal the recent decision in the Astron Clinica software patent case and then raises a really good question about the implications:

"After the recent decision of Astron Clinica (IPKat posts here and here), and a decent two week period for reflection, the UK-IPO have now decided that they will not be appealing against the decision. Consequently, a new practice notice has just been issued by the UK-IPO...

This appears to settle for now the matter of computer program claims, which many will be relieved to see (although not, of course, those against software patents in general). The IPKat sees no reason why he should not have the following claim allowed by a UK-IPO examiner (where claim 1 is an allowable method claim):

"A computer program comprising computer program code adapted, when said program is loaded onto a computer, to make the computer execute the procedure of claim 1".

There is nothing wrong with this, according to Kitchin J in Astron Clinica and the new practice notice, so one of the IPKat's amenuenses will be putting exactly this form of claim to a UK examiner in the near future, in the expectation of it being allowed. After all, we should be looking at the invention as a matter of substance, not the form in which it is claimed. Can anyone see the reason why this claim would not be allowed at the EPO? The IPKat suspects he can, but would like others to first point out why he is wrong, yet again, on the subject."

Keep a close eye on IPKat to see how the proposed claim is received.

Meanwhile Automony has lost its against a refusal of their patent application relating to automated computer searching. The judgement is available at BAILII.

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