The latest software patent UK High Court case, Symbian Ltd v Comptroller General Of Patents  EWHC 518 (Pat), has continued following the line set by Astron Clinica. The case exemplifies the split between UK-IPO and EPO practice on software patents, as the EPO awarded the patent, while the UK-IPO did not. At the heart of the question is the issue of whether or not software as such can be subject to patentability.
Symbian’s claim protects DLL indexing in a computer. I may be entirely wrong here, but where is the innovation in that? Anyway, the High Court ruled in Symbian in favour of the “inventor”. The good news is that the UK-IPO has declared that it will appeal the ruling, as it is clear that the judge did not follow the Aerotel/Macrossan test. However, while I welcome the appeal, I feel like this may be too little too late, as the EPO keeps awarding preposterously bad software patents. While English courts have sometimes been standing in the way of EPO practice, the problem will not be solved until the EPO Board of Appeals starts interpreting art. 52 of the European Patent Convention differently.
The EPO is under a lot of commercial pressure from American software companies to harmonise practice across the Atlantic.