SOFTWARE, BUSINESS & MEDICAL METHOD PATENTS

 

 

NO PATENT POSSIBLE?

 

SOFTWARE AND BUSINESS METHODS CAN BE  DIFFICULT TO PATENT IN EUROPE. MATHEMATICAL METHODS, PERFORMANCE OF MENTAL ACTS, SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES AND METHODS OF TREATMENT OF THE HUMAN OR ANIMAL BODY ARE SIMILARLY  CONSIDERED UNPATENTABLE. A NOVEL APPARATUS OR SYSTEM  INCORPORATING OR RELYING UPON AN "UNPATENTABLE" ELEMENT IS, HOWEVER, PATENTABLE. AN APPLICATION FOR AN APPARATUS OR SYSTEM INCORPORATING THE UNPATENTABLE ELEMENT GENERALLY OVERCOMES PROBLEMS. FOR SOFTWARE AND BUSINESS BETHODS,THINGS ARE GENERALLY  EASIER, THOUGH NOT STRAIGHT FORWARD, IN AUSTRALIA

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 OBTAINING A  PATENT FOR THE UNPATENTABLE

SOFTWARE, BUSINESS METHODS, MATHEMATICAL METHODS, SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES, METHODS OF PERFORMING A MENTAL ACT AND METHODS OF TREATMENT OF THE HUMAN OR ANIMAL BODY ARE ALL DEEMED UNPATENTABLE  IN THE EUOPEAN PATENT OFFICE AND THE UK PATENT OFFICE 

Have you made a computer program or business method invention? You probably think that you can obtain a  patent for it just like anything else. You could be right. There is no patent prohibition on apparatus inventions implemented using a computer processor and software. Unfortunately there are problems obtaining a patent for computer programs themselves in the European Patent Office and the UK Intellectual Property Office. A similar problem exists in obtaining a patent for "Business Methods" which can have no technical element.

It all depends on what the invention does. Software that controls or contributes to the functioning of an inventive apparatus, or improves computer function or configuration, or processes real world data to produce technical data improvement, can be the subject of a successful  patent in the UK Intellectual Property Office and the European Patent Office.

However, if the    computer program simply does what you would expect any computer program would do, it is probably not possible to obtain a patent in the European Patent Office  and the UK Intellectual Property Office. Graphic User Interfaces (GUI.s) and calculating programs, no matter how clever or new, are very hard to patent in the UK and Europe for this reason, but  character recognition machines are often the subject of a successful  patent in the UK Intellectual Property Office and in the European Patent Office since they are real apparatus operating upon real world data.

In a similar manner, mathematical methods, scientific discoveries, methods of performing a mental act and methods of treatment of the human or animal body are also considered unsuitable matter for obtaining a patent in the UK Intellectual Property Office and the European Patent Office. However, a patent application for a method or system incorporating, exploiting  or relying upon the "un-patentable" element is considered patentable in the UK and the European Patent Office if the apparatus or system can be made the subject of a successful patent, i.e. it is new and inventive and involves a technical element.

Patent Offices live to patent "things" expressed in one way or another. Make your invention a thing, or some kind of apparatus or some other piece of useful apparatus, or method of performing a practical useful act connected with apparatus, and your invention has a chance of being patented.

Never say never. Please feel free to contact us to  discuss your invention.  All discussions are in strictest confidence. A patent application for a system or apparatus is a possibility in which there may be a technical effect which you may not have yet identified but which we could argue.  We are experienced patent IP attorneys. We are here to help you. 

THE USA

Business  methods have recently been the subject of much administrative litigation.The US Supreme Court appeal decision has been handed down in the Bilski appeal concerning business method patents. As a result, new examination guidelines have been issued by the US Patent Office. Business methods are, as a reesult of later supreme court decisions, seeminly not allowed in the USA as pure software is now equally disallowed if it achieves only an "abstract" purpose.

The USA Position seems, now, to be remarkably close to the UK and European Patent Office positoin.

 We can offer you advice for your prospective patent in light of the examination guidelines.

 Contact us for patent advice  and assessment of your invention. All communications are in strictest confidence. Call or Email us for the latest cost or price.