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Australian start-up takes on IP Australia to improve the law around software patents

software patents


Rokt, an Australian fast growing technology start-up is taking IP Australia to the Federal Court. The aim is to improve the law around software patents. Rokt is the applicant of a patent that was granted in 2013. However, IP Australia then retrospectively rejected it in 2015. Rokt is now appealing the decision to the Federal Court.

Software Patents

As many of you may know, the law around computer and software inventions has been a mess for a while. In the last few years, IP Australia has rejected a large number of patent applications for computer and software inventions. The rejections were mostly based on that the invention is not patentabl defining a patentable invention. We will dive deeper into the law around software patents in one of my next posts.

There are two main decisions, Research Affiliates and RPL Central, that IP Australia relies on when rejecting computer and software inventions. The decisions are Full Federal Court decisions dating back to the end of 2014 and 2015. A complete write up of these decisions can be found here and here.

Whilst these decisions provide guidance as to what type of computer and software inventions are patentable, there still appears to be a lot of uncertainty around the law.

Rokt takes on IP Australia

Because of the ongoing uncertainty, Rokt is now challenging IP Australia by appealing their decision to the Federal Court of Australia. The Financial Review has reported about this here. In the interview with the Financial Review, the CEO Bruce Buchanan of Rokt said that “[i]t won’t have a huge impact on us, but we’re fighting this because we think it’s stupid for Australia and some start-ups that aren’t as fortunate as us could be set back by this.”

I commend Rokt for this move. And I have my fingers and toes crossed that the decision will improve the law around software patents.

If you have a computer or software invention, please contact us here for an in-depth discussion on the patentability of your invention.