U.K High Court rules on patents for computer programs

Our readers may remember an earlier SpicyIP post on patents for computer programs being dis-allowed in the United Kingdom by the Court of Appeals in the Aerotel/Macrossan case. Well thats not the law of U.K. anymore. The High Court recently ruled that the practice of the UK Patent Office in flatly rejecting patent claims to computer products is wrong and remitted the applications to the Patent Offices.

Software patents are quite a nuanced area of patent law (which in itself is nuanced). However for a much more detailed analysis of the UK judgement we direct you to our good friends – IpKat who as usual have put up a brilliant analysis of the decision. Please click here for the IPKat post.

This decision will have implications for India given the propensity of Indian Courts to follow English decisions. As of now Section 3(k) of the Patent Act deems both computer programs and business methods as inventions which are not patentable. Section 3(k) as most of you must know was one of the few victories scored by the Communist Parties when the Government was attempting to get the 3rd Amendment to the Patent Act passed in both Houses of Parliament in 2005. However as Shamnad has pointed out in an earlier post (which generated a lot of activity) the Indian Patent Office has granted some software/business method patents in the past. It will be interesting to see how an Indian Court construes Section 3(k).
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