Macrossan refused leave to appeal
The IPKat has learned from a press release that the House of Lords (right), the highest appellate court for England and Wales, has refused Australian businessman Neal Macrossan leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal's decision to refuse his application for a patent on his invention for an automated system that compiles the necessary documents for incorporating a company in the UK. This case had been viewed as a crucial case in clearing up disparities between UK and European Patent Office treatment of patents for software. Says the press release:
"It is currently harder to obtain a patent for such inventions in the UK than in the rest of Europe, even though the UK has signed up to the European Patent Convention (EPC), providing for uniform patent laws".The House of Lords has refused permission on the grounds that the case “does not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance". Dr John Collins (Partner at Marks & Clerk who has acted for Macrossan) is quoted as saying:
"It is highly surprising that the House of Lords did not consider there to be significant points of law and public interest at stake here, especially given the questions referred to the European Patent Office by the Court of Appeal. Hopefully the EPO will take up the referral and their response to these questions will help us, in time, to establish a pan-European consensus on the patentability of software".The IPKat thinks the Lords have a point, though. Is it really worth their Lordships dipping their noble toes into the water when we're all awaiting great waves from the EPO. Hmm, grumbles Merpel, can it be that Lord Hoffmann is missing out on an opportunity to rewrite yet another branch of patent law? If so, it's probably because he's fed up with so many people mis-spelling his surname.
Earlier IPKat posts on the Macrossan here, here , here and here
Lots going on in Ireland
The IPKat's friend Deirdre Kilroy (LK Shields, Dublin) has sent him two jolly snippets. The first, from the Sunday Business Post, is "Dunnes in court actions for alleged copying". This piece relates that Karen Millen and Coast, the British high-street fashion chains, have launched muti-million-euro legal
Above right, and left: design houses like Karen Millen are increasingly fed up at illicit attempts to break up their niche markets
actions against Dunnes Stores, claiming that the Irish retail giant is producing ‘knock-off’ copies of their designer garments. Both UK chains are owned by British retailer Mosaic Fashions, also known for its Oasis, Warehouse, Principles, Nine West and Bertie brands. Damages of many millions of euro are sought.
The second, "Danone puts Glanbia in dock over yoghurt", tells of the threat to Glanbia's ambitions to double its market share with the introduction of 'shot-sized' Yoplait Essence yoghurt drinks, now that multinational food giant Danone is suing it for patent infringement. Damages of up to 10 million euros are sought. The patent in question turns out to be for, er ... the word "Essence", though. Wonder how they got it patented? Will the relevant journalist at Business World be made to walk the plank?