Following the decision of the High Court in Halliburton, the High Court has now allowed an appeal against the decision of an Intellectual Property Office (IPO) hearing officer that had prevented the registration of a patent relating to a computer system for monitoring communications online to warn of inappropriate content. The initial application had been rejected on the grounds that a computer program was excluded from patentability.
UK patent applications can be refused on various grounds, one of which is if the patent subject matter falls within an excluded type, such as pure business methods, a method for performing a mental act or computer programs that do not have a technical effect.
The High Court has allowed the appeal, and has referred the application back to the IPO for reconsideration. The ruling was made on the basis that the application made a significant contribution with a relevant technical effect, such that the software should not be considered wholly within the computer program exclusion from patentability.
This ruling is further evidence of the alleged ‘over strict’ interpretation of the exclusions from patentability by the IPO.