Software Case referred to COA

Watch this space- as important case is referred to COA

Lord Justice Jacob in an important ruling referred the Macrossan case to the Court of Appeal. He said that the scope of the computer software exception to patentability is “of public interest, sufficiently uncertain and thus worthy of consideration by the Court of Appeal”. He added that he thought Macrossan’s arguments “have a real prospect of success”.

The owner of the ‘claimed’ software patent is Neal Macrossan. Macrossan’s patent allowed for online filing of company documentation to incorporate companies.

The invention was rejected by the UK Patent Office as the claim was excluded on the grounds that software patents per se are not patentable. The Hearing Officer at the time explained what it did:

“The essence of the invention is that by means of posing questions to a user in a number of stages, enough information is gleaned from the user’s answers to produce the required documents. Questions posed in the second and subsequent stages are determined from previous answers provided and the user’s answers are stored in a database structure. This process is repeated until the user has provided enough information to allow the documents legally required to create the corporate entity to be generated. A number of document templates are also stored and the data processor is configured to merge at least one of these templates with the user’s answers to generate the required legal documents. The documents may then be sent in an electronic form to the user for the user to print out and submit, mailed to the user, or submitted to the appropriate registration authority on behalf of the user.”

Watch this space!

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