0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

Forgotten your password?

Somebody tell me whether computer software is patentable!

17 November 2009

For those of you keeping up to speed with the debate on whether computer programs are patentable in Europe, I had a recent insight from Lord Hoffman who was speaking at the Midlands Intellectual Property Society. Discussing what can and cannot be patented, Lord Hoffman grouped non-patentable inventions into those which of themselves have no practical application (including programs for computers) and those which essentially cover human behaviour (including business methods). This categorisation although not used in the legislation, is a helpful way of keeping a reality check when looking at what is becoming an increasingly dense area of debate.

Does your invention have a practical application?  If so, it may be patentable, even if it incorporates a computer program. We’re hoping the Enlarged Board of Appeal at the European Patent Office will shed some further light on the subject, but Lord Hoffman agrees that the EPO may not even have jurisdiction to answer the relevant questions which have been asked of it. Life’s never easy.

Related opinions

Important opportunity to comment on case law precedent

The UK government is considering extending this power to depart from retained EU case law to additional lower courts and tribunals, namely the Court of Appeal in England and Wales and the High Court of Justice in England and Wales and their equivalents.

View blog

Sky’s overly broad trade marks narrowed as found partially invalid for bad faith

Lord Justice Arnold has applied the guidance of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to the evidence before him, in the long standing trade mark dispute between Sky and Skykick.

View blog

Cyber risks – are businesses really ready?

The Hiscox Cyber Readiness report, a review of 3300 organisations, will be a stark warning for CEO’s of SME’s in the UK and in Europe.

View blog

Wearable security

How secure is your fitness tracker? (Not to mention your smartwatch, sleep tracker, smart shoe insoles and wearable Bluetooth keyboard). It’s something that many of us give little thought to, but perhaps we should be more concerned.

View blog

Mark Daniels

Mark Daniels

Partner and Head of Business Services

View profile

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up