The case of Halliburton Energy Services Inc v Smith International (North Sea) Limited and another  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 HalliburtonÂs patents, which related to a computerised drill bit designÂ process, were invalid due to a lack of sufficient explanation. Interestingly Judge PumfreyÂ surmised that had the requisite detail of the Patent Claim explained the innovative technology,Â together with industrial application, it was likely that the Patent could have been upheld. TheÂ 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 andÂ computer software generally. This ought to be understood together with the appropriate guidance asÂ issued by the UK Patent Office.