Lantana Ltd’s Application UK Patents Court, Birss J, 4 September 2013, neutral citation number  EWHC 2673 (Pat)
This judgment from the UK Patent Court confirms and applies the current approach in the United Kingdom to the patentability of computer programs.
The invention envisaged two computers linked over the internet, in which one computer obtained data from the other by sending emails containing machine readable code that was then executed by the other computer. The UK Intellectual Property Office refused to allow the patent application on the basis that the claim was excluded by s1(2) Patents Act 1977 as relating to a computer program as such.
Lantana appealed. The judge, Birss J, applied the approach recently set out by the Court of Appeal in HTC v Apple (3 May 2013). That case affirmed the approach of Aerotel v Telco Holdings: the court must consider whether the invention has made a technical contribution to the known art, with the rider that novel or inventive purely excluded subject matter does not count as a technical invention. It was also appropriate, though not strictly necessary to follow the structured approach set out in Aerotel: (i) properly construe the claim; (ii) identify the actual contribution; (iii) ask whether it falls solely within excluded subject matter; (iv) check whether actual or alleged contribution is actually technical in nature.