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Patent Office loses software not a patent case

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Symbian has won a High Court judgement against the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) which refused to grant it a software patent.

The company applied to protect how a computer indexes functions which can then be used by different applications on the device.

Mr Justice Patten said the case showed the difference between UK and European patent law. In Europe it is possible to patent software inventions while in the UK it is very difficult - the European Patent Office has granted Symbian a patent for its invention, but the UK turned it down.

The UK Intellectual Property Office (the civil servants previously known as the Patent Office) believes the judgement failed to properly apply the "Aerotel/Macrossan" test - a 2006 case which led to a new, four step test to check applications.

UK IPO said it would therefore appeal the decision in order to get clarification from the Court of Appeal.

Before the Court of Appeal's ruling, the UK IPO will continue to use the Aerotel/Macrossan test but will "take account" of the Symbian decision.

The Government press release is here. ®

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