Not long ago I commented on NMR's Application which was the first decision of the Comptroller following CFPH. Now there is another one and it is even more interesting than the last because of the route by which the hearing officer arrived at his decision. Oracle Corporation's appeal agent the examiner's refusal of a patent for a method of converting text from one mark-up language into another was rejected because the hearing officer, Stephen Probert, interpreted Peter Prescott QC's judgment in CFPH as prohibiting anything that foreclosed computer programs to the public:
"If computer programs are not to be foreclosed to the public, then it is clear to me that I cannot allow this application to proceed to grant. Not only would the present claims (if granted) foreclose computer programs to the public but, on my reading of the claims, there is little or nothing else that would be foreclosed by them."This argument is attractive but it is hard to see how this reasoning can be upheld. If it is right, the no computer program would ever be patented. It will be interesting to see how the case law develops.