RPL Central: High Court Refuses Special Leave

Date: 2016-05-06
Author: Stuart Irvine

The RPL Central case has been working its way through the Australian Courts since 2013. The case concerns the subject matter eligibility of a computer implemented invention for assessing the competency or qualifications of individuals with respect to recognised standards.

By way of history:

  • In the first instance, a single judge of Australia’s Federal Court found the invention in question to be patentable subject matter. A summary of the first–instance decision can be found here.
  • On appeal,  the Full Federal Court held the invention was not patentable subject matter. A summary of the Federal Court appeal can be found here.

RPL Central requested special leave to the High Court to appeal the Full Federal Court’s decision. This application was refused yesterday on the basis 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.

RPL Central Ltd v Commissioner of Patents [2016] HCASL 84: here.

On one view, at least, this leaves Australia in a position not dissimilar to the US: some computer implemented inventions will be patent eligible subject matter, some will not, but no bright line dividing the two camps has been drawn.