Software Patents Under United Kingdom Patent Law
There are four over-riding requirements for a patent to be granted under United Kingdom patent law. Firstly, there must have been an invention. That invention must be novel, inventive and susceptible of industrial application. (See Patentability).
Patent laws in the UK and throughout Europe specify a non-exhaustive list of excluded things that are not regarded as inventions to the extent that a patent application relates to the excluded thing as such. This list includes programs for computers.
Despite this, the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) regularly grants patents to inventions that are partly or wholly implemented in software. The extent to which this should be done under the current law and the approach to be used in assessing whether a patent application describes an invention has been settled by the Court of Appeal. The UK approach is quite different from that of the European Patent Office (EPO).
Globally, the extent to which patent law should allow the granting of patents involving software (often referred to as "software patents") is controversial and also hotly debated (see Software patent debate).
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