Patent issues in relation to computer games and apps
Produced in partnership with Harbottle & Lewis
Patent issues in relation to computer games and apps

The following IP practice note produced in partnership with Harbottle & Lewis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Patent issues in relation to computer games and apps
  • Patent protection for computer games and apps
  • Patentability principles
  • Scheme, rule or method for playing a game
  • Computer program
  • Presentation of information
  • Application of principles in the UK and EPO respectively
  • Examples of patentable game features
  • Guide mark for player character having possession of ball (KONAMI/Video game, EPO Technical Board of Appeal)
  • Varying the appearance probability of encounters with other game characters in response to measured time (NINTENDO/Game machine and storage medium, EPO Technical Board of Appeal)
  • More...

Patent issues in relation to computer games and apps

IP COMPLETION DAY: 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marks the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’), key transitional arrangements come to an end and significant changes begin to take effect across the UK’s legal regime. This document contains guidance on subjects impacted by these changes. Before continuing your research, see Practice Note: What does IP completion day mean for intellectual property?

Patent protection for computer games and apps

Various aspects of computer games and apps may be patentable in Europe, although in several respects, games and apps may fall within the exclusions for non-patentable subject-matter. An examination of case law provides examples of where the dividing lines between patentable and non-patentable may lie.

The decision on whether to seek patent protection will also be influenced by limitations on the extent of copyright protection for software code where what is reproduced consists only of the ‘look and feel’, or the user interfaces.

Computer game patents have been the subject of infringement litigation in the High Court of England and Wales. Issues of construction arise where the invention consists of apparatus 'for' a specified function, in particular as to whether unprogrammed hardware infringes such a claim.

Due to the

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