Is the controversy over patenting software in the UK finally over?

The Macrossan case was observed carefully by patent experts because of the controversy concerning patenting software and whether the law in the United Kingdom (UK) would change. Last month the Court of Appeal rejected the application for appeal where a computer program was unable to be patented.

ollowing this decision, the UK Patent Office issued a practice notice concerning how it would regard patents in light of the recent appeal. It has made its position clear that the case will be treated as a ‘definitive statement’ regarding whether a patent can be granted in this subject matter.

Despite this, Neal Macrossan has appealed to the House of Lords. It is unlikely that the House of Lords will change the decisionreached by the Court of Appeal, however the House of Lords is not bound by precedent. It is however bound by statute but this case should still be watched closely.Â

At present the position in the UK is clear software, computer programs and business methods are not patentable. In addition the UK Patent Office has also stated that it will not be referring to previous case law, but will focus on the latest decision.

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