A decision of the English High Court has led the UK Intellectual Property Office to issue a new practice notice that instructs UK examiners to take a much narrower view of the “mental act” exclusion to patentability.
However—and perhaps most significantly— the decision has confirmed that programmed computers are patentable in the UK. It also highlighted that when assessing the patentability of computer-implemented inventions (CIIs), UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) and European Patent Office (EPO) practice is different, although it is hoped that in both jurisdictions the same conclusion would be reached, albeit with different reasoning.
The UK Patents Act and the European Patent Convention (EPC) both require that there must be an “invention” and that for something to be patentable, the invention should be both new and non-obvious. There is no definition of “invention”, but inventions must be “capable of industrial application”, which means that they are technical rather than abstract.
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computer-implemented inventions, CII patenting, UKIPO, EPO, approaches