Software patents exist in the UK. They get granted by the patent office (UKIPO) and get upheld by the courts (example: Symbian v. Comptroller General (2008, UK)). The mitigating factor is that the case law in the UK is not strong, so this may change in future rulings.
(2) It is hereby declared that the following (among other things) are not inventions for the purposes of this Act, that is to say, anything which consists of —
(a) a discovery, scientific theory or mathematical method;
(b) a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work or any other aesthetic creation whatsoever;
(c) a scheme, rule or method for performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business, or a program for a computer;
(d) the presentation of information; but the foregoing provision shall prevent anything from being treated as an invention for the purposes of this Act only to the extent that a patent or application for a patent relates to that thing as such.
these appeals turn on the application of Art.52(2) and 52(3) of the EPC. The provision was implemented in UK law by s.1(2) of the Patents Act 1977. Although s.1(2) pointlessly uses somewhat different wording from that of the EPC no-one suggests that it has any different meaning. So we, like the parties before us, work directly from the source.
Prime Minister's Office comments
In a February 2007 response to a petition, the Prime Minister's Office commented that "Although certain jurisdictions, such as the US, allow more liberal patenting of software-based inventions, these patents cannot be enforced in the UK. The test used to discern between patentable and non-patentable subject matter in the UK has recently been clarified by the courts, and is applied rigorously by the Patent Office." 
One year later, in October 2008, the UK courts upheld a patent which was very certainly a software patent: Symbian v. Comptroller General (2008, UK).
UK politicians probably believe the myth that patent standards here are higher than in the USA.
Patent office decisions
- (Main article: UK patent office)
Related pages on en.swpat.org
- Case law in the UK
- UK patent courts and appeals
- Patent office practice in the UK
- Hargreaves review of UK patent law
- BTG patent on downloading software
- A 2004 letter from MP Richard Allan to the UK's Council representative
- OSS-watch's swpats page
- A 1998 conference report that mentions political pressures for the extension of swpats into Europe
- Software patents : Timeline of Tim Jackson's correspondence - with the MEPs of the UK (see: EU software patents directive)
- Is your software patentable?, by David Sant
- Sant is known to be very pro-swpat, so when he says some categories are not patentable, we can trust it's not just his bias.
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