As things stand at the moment, Rule 164 EPC means that if a European regional phase application is found by the European patent searching division to lack unity of invention then only the first claimed invention is searched. Since unsearched subject matter cannot be prosecuted in a European application then the applicant has no choice but to file an expensive divisional patent application to the unsearched subject matter if protection to that unsearched subject matter is required.
The Intellectual Property Act 2014 aims to modernise the UK’s intellectual property (IP) law in order to simplify and strengthen the UK IP system and improve efficiency. Many of the provisions in the Act will come into force on 1 October 2014.
The patenting of software related inventions hit the headlines again in the US following the recent decision by the Supreme Court in Alice Corp v CLA Bank. Some commentators have hinted that the approach in the US is heading towards the approach adopted in Europe by the European Patent Office (EPO).