The Full Federal Court handed down a much-anticipated decision in an appeal by the Commissioner for Patents of Commissioner of Patents v RPL Central Pty Ltd [2015] FCAFC 177 on 11 December 2015.

In a unanimous decision, the appeal was upheld.  Australian Patent No. 2009100601, which concerned methods of assessing an individual's competency relative to a recognised qualification standard, was found not to be for a “manner of manufacture”, i.e., not for patentable subject matter.

The Court examined the claimed invention to ascertain “whether it is in substance a scheme or plan or whether it can broadly be described as an improvement in computer technology”, concluding that the claimed invention was a scheme or business method.

This decision will have considerable implications for patentability of computer-related inventions in Australia.  A detailed review of the decision is necessary and our more detailed analysis will follow.

In light of this decision, an assessment of computer-based applications facing objections for lack of patentable subject matter will be required.