Court case of Symbian Limited v Comptroller General of Patents

Case analysis

The subject matter of software patents has created a huge controversies in the law of U.K. Here the court case of Symbian Limited v Comptroller General of Patents (2008) is mentioned. Where the court strongly opposed the law of Uk(IPO).The claim was to protect the software program present in a mobile process. This judgment clearly prove the difference in views between the IPO and the EPO examiner.

If we highlight the law of UK patent act(1977) , we can understand that ,a patent is granted when it covers all he criteria like i) Novelty ii) Usefulness iii) Non obviousness. Again, Under s1(2) of the Act (implementing Article 52 of the European Patent Convention 1973),the subjectmatter of a software program did not consider as a patent . This has become a non solvable issue for last two decades.

Coming to the case study, The Symbian proposed operating system which is used in phones.The company seek protection of hardware to work a data in a dynamic link library (DLL).

To save the memory is the main function of DLL. And it is very famous worldwide. In order to make the DLL work more accurately many new suggestion of upgrading or adding new features comes out. The simian also give their idea by putting the proposal of splitting the DLL. The simian shought protection for this claim. But the IPo rejected their appeal. According to them it was a exclusive computer programme.The symbian then took the decision to the High Court and make it successful.
Request by the UK Comptroller General of Patents, the Court of Appeal minutely examined the claims of the software program.After that decleared that , on the criteria patentable inventions under both the Act and European Patent Convention the subjectmatter of DLL which is put forward by the Symbian's cannot be rejected.

By these decision, taken by the UK Court of Appeal palys a vital role in the confusion for the patent granting in the field of software patent,But it will take some more time (Kenneth Mullen ). After the Symbian case, initially their arose lots of aggrement and disaggrement issue. But this judgement definitely give a new ways in the granting of software patents

So from this case analysis we can see that , all forms of software that represent a non obvious improvement in the state of the art and which have a novelty will definitely award as a patent protection.,,Inc., No. C99 1695P,1999 WL 1095502(W.D. Wash., Dec.1,1999)

The District Court issued a preliminary injunction restraining the defendants from continuing to operate the “Express Lane” product ordering feature on their Barnesandnoble .com Website their as it infringed the plaintiff Inc 411 patent. As stated by the court ,the ‘411 patent “describes a method…. in which a consumer can complete a purchase oder for an item via the internet using only a single action (such as a single click of a computer mouse button ) once information identification the item is displayed to the consumer”

In the year 1997, The CEO Jeffery Bezos conceived of the idea of enabling Amazon.coms users to purchase products with a single click of a computer mouse. This idea which gave rise to the “411 patent” was commercially implemented by in September 1997. In May 1998, began use its web site of its “Express Lane” ordering feature.According to the District court, “Express Lane allows customers who have registered for the feature to purchase items by simply clicking on the Express Lane button registered fpr the feature to purchase items by simply clicking on the Express Lane button shown on the detail or product page tha describes and identifies the product to be purchased.The text beneath the Express lane invites the user to “Buy it now with just one click”

Barely after the “411” patent was issued, filed a suit, alleging that the defendants operation of “Express lane” infringed the “411” patent. The defendants argued that would not succeed because that “411”patent was invalid on obviousness and anticipation grounds. Defendants also argued that they were infringing plaintiffs patent.

The Federal Circuit found that “there was a substantial likelihood that Amazon would succeed on its claim that Barnesandnobles “Express Lane”feature infringed Amazons “single action” patent and concluded that “Barnesandnoble had raised substantial questions as to validity of “411” patent granted to Amazon, in the light of the prior art that was available at the time filing of Amazons patent.

The Fideral court of Appeals vacated the injunction issued earlier and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings.As interpreted by both the courts, the “411” patent applies when a customer chooses the product he wishes to purchase and by the presentation of the single action,(one click of the mouse)the customer can complete the purchase of the product. The court found that there was a substantial similarity between the “411” patent of Amazon and Barnesandnobles Express Lane check out features.

The Federal Circuit was of the view that the appropriate point for “counting clicks” commences only when the consumer is presented with both a description of the product to be purchased and information indicating the single action needed to purchase it.

However, the court finally held that Barnesandnoble had raised substantial question as to the validity of Amazon 411 patent, in light of the prior art available,sufficient for the court to deny Amazons application for preliminary injunction. The prior art reference include

1) A passage in a book written by Magdalena Yesil entitled” Creating the Virtual Store” that provided the Instant Buy option, enabling them to skip check out review
2) A passage from a print out of a web page describing ”Oliver Market” ordering system which states “single click on its picture is all it takes to order an item

Hence, due to the above citation of Prior art, It may found to have anticipated or rendered obvious Amazons 411 patent. Consequently, the Federal court rejected plaintiffs application for injunctive relief.