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Excluded Inventions

Written by Ben Evans on 19 November 2010

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In the UK there are various exclusions as to what is capable of being patented:

1) Discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods (s 1(2)(a));

2) Aesthetic creations (s 1(2)(b) n.b. these are protected by copyright;

3) Schemes, rules or methods of performing mental acts, playing games or doing business (s 1(2)(c)) however where a method makes a substantive technical contribution to the known art then it may be patentable (Merrill Lynch's Application [1989] RPC 561);

4) Computer programs (s 1(2)(c)), this is an area of considerable disagreement. A software related invention is patentable if it makes a substantive technical contribution to the known art (Fujitsu's Application [1997] RPC 680), please note that this is a complex area and will be dealt with in more detail in a seperate article;

5) Presentation of information (s 1(2)(d)) n.b. protected as design rights;

6) Inventions whose commercial exploitation would be contrary to public policy or morality (s 1(3));

7) Surgical, therapeutic or diagnostic methods carried out on the human or animal body (s 4A(2)); and

8) Certain biological and zoological inventions (Sch A2 para 3).

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