The court ruled that the practice of the UK Intellectual Property Office (“UK IPO”) of automatically rejecting patent claims for computer programmes was wrong. It held that computer programmes that make a substantive inventive contribution may be eligible for patent protection, even though they are distributed on disc or downloadable from the internet. This has resulted in a re-alignment of UK practice with that of the European Patent Office.
In response, the UK IPO, which has decided not to appeal the judgment, has issued a Practice Note implementing this change in its approach, effective immediately. As a result, if the programme implements a patentable invention, the computer programme may be protected by a patent.