Scintilla – a flash, a spark, an iota. Shorthand for creativity and an indicator of inventiveness under Australian law.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

End of the Road for RPL Central

By Anthony Selleck, Senior Associate 

Earlier this year we reported that RPL Central had applied to the High Court of Australia for special leave to appeal against the decision of the Full Federal Court. Those following the case will recall that the Full Federal Court decided against RPL Central, holding that the claims of its innovation patent were directed to a 'mere scheme', abstract idea or business method, and thus did not constitute patentable subject matter.

Earlier today, the High Court dismissed RPL Central's special leave application with costs. This means that the orders of the Full Federal Court dismissing an appeal from a decision of the Australian Patent Office, will stand. RPL Central has now exhausted its legal options in respect of its innovation patent. The fact that the case was taken through two Federal Court appeals and a special leave application suggests much was at stake for RPL Central in securing patent rights over its technology.

Although it is the end of the road for RPL Central's innovation patent, the debate about the patentability of software and business methods is by no means over.  The debate has merely moved to a different forum.  As we reported earlier this week, the Productivity Commission recently released a Draft Report on Intellectual Property arrangements in Australia. One of the recommendations in the Draft Report is that ‘the Australian Government should amend section 18 of the Patents Act 1990 (Cth) to explicitly exclude business methods and software from being patentable subject matter.’

Participants in the software industry who rely on patents to protect their innovations are unlikely to support such a recommendation. Those who could be affected are encouraged to lodge an appropriate submission with the Commission.  Let us know if you'd like our assistance.

1 comment:

  1. The reasons are now available, with the High Court stating that "The Full Court was plainly correct and, accordingly, none of the applicant's proposed grounds of appeal enjoys sufficient prospects of success to warrant the grant of special leave to appeal." Available here: