Last Thursday, the High Court refused RPL Central's application for special leave to appeal the Full Federal Court decision denying patentability to its computer-implemented invention. In December 2015, the Full Court held that the computer-implemented nature of RPL's business scheme was not sufficient to transform it into a patentable invention.
The invention at the heart of the RPL Central case (Commissioner of Patents v RPL Central Pty Ltd) relates to a computer-implemented method and system for the 'assessment of the competency or qualifications of individuals with respect to recognised standards'. At trial, Middleton J found the implementation of RPL's business method using a computer was sufficient to transform it into a patentable invention.
On appeal, however, the Full Federal Court held that RPL's invention was not patentable, and in its decision made several significant comments about patentability in the context of the manner of manufacture. You can see our previous breakdown of the Full Federal Court decision here.
On 5 May 2016, the High Court dismissed RPL's application for special leave, with costs, on the basis that:
'The Full Court was plainly correct and, accordingly, none of the applicant's proposed grounds of appeal enjoys sufficient prospects of success to warrant the grant of special leave to appeal'.
Whilst a High Court proceeding would likely have clarified this issue for patent applicants, this decision affirms that the current Australia perspective is becoming more aligned with those of the US and Europe insofar as computer-implemented inventions are difficult to protect