23 February 2007

Patents: More Macrossan Fallout

Patent Office hearing officers have added three new decisions to the ones I mentioned in "Patents: The Macrossan Aftermath" on 15 Feb 2007. All dismissals, I'm afraid.

In NEC Corporation's Application Mr Bartlett found on 16 Feb 2007 that the technical contribution of a system for processing email according to content and source for mobile phones consisted entirely of excluded matter and was thus unpatentable.

Mr Marchant came to a similar conclusion in Start-Global Limited which concerned a computer based project management system for use in civil engineering construction projects on 22 Feb 2007.

We don't yet have a transcript to Mr Barford's decision in Arbitron Inc of 21 Feb 2007 but the case summary indicates that the invention determined the popularity of websites, broadcasting channels etc according to such criteria as audience demographics. Surprise, surprise. All excluded matter.

Bearing in mind that our economy is now services based and that manufacturing in this country has gone west, or rather east, is it sensible for the patent system to protect only products and processes. I know all the arguments against software and business method patents but these tend to come from geeks. Perhaps we ought to listen to people who make their living from services. Which is most of us.

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