Software patentability available in UK

The case of Halliburton Energy Services Inc v Smith International (North Sea) Limited and another [2005] EWHC 1623 (Pat) has demonstrated that where software results in a technological effect, applicable in industry, such software may be considered capable of patent protection. This has been an ongoing matter, initially reported in November 2004.Â

The court ruled that Halliburton’s patents, which related to a computerised drill bit design process, were invalid due to a lack of sufficient explanation. Interestingly Judge Pumfrey surmised that had the requisite detail of the Patent Claim explained the innovative technology, together with industrial application, it was likely that the Patent could have been upheld. The importance of good Patent Claims drafting cannot be understated. Â

The decision is equally important due to the review of the patentability of business methods and computer software generally. This ought to be understood together with the appropriate guidance as issued by the UK Patent Office.

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