Court Backslides on UK Software Patents

I never thought I'd be writing a post in support of the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO), but I can only applaud its decision to appeal against the following:

A judgment in the case of Symbian's Patent Application has been issued today by the High Court overturning an earlier decision of the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) to refuse the application because it relates to nothing more than a computer program.

Symbian's patent application describes how in a computer a library of functions (DLL), which can be called on by multiple application programs running on the computer, is accessed. In particular, it provides a way of indexing these library functions to ensure the computer will continue to operate reliably after changes are made to the library.

As any fule kno, this is just an algorithm, and algorithms are just mathematics, and mathematics cannot be patented, so the UK-IPO is clearly right here. Let's hope the Court of Appeals agrees, or the UK computer world is in big trouble.


Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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