Confusing. Bad. Fuzzy. Seems UKPO lost its appeal against Symbians effort to grant software patents in the UK. The ruling from yesterday can be found here: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2008/1066.html
The ruling fails to understand that the contribution of making a data program run in less steps, faster independent of hardware, is within the computer program exclusion:
"Stage 2 Identify the contribution:
A program which makes a computer operate on other programs faster than prior art operating programs enabled it to do by virtue of the claimed features.
Stage 3 Is that solely excluded matter?
No, because it has the knock-on effect of the computer working better as a matter of practical reality.
Stage 4 Is it technical?
Yes, on any view as to the meaning of the word 'technical'" (paragraph 59).
IP-Kitten has a software patent happy story about this:
EPO seems to increasingly rebell the EPC at the same time. In the latest EPO Gazette there is an article about patenting "presentation of information", where EPO seems to grant them just like software patents, using the 'technical' effect trick. The EPO is still mixing up problem with contribution in its shady business model.
The patent system seems too greedy to save itself from self destruction.
UPDATE: Article that I missed about this in times:
UPDATE2 22/10, FFII comment on judgement: