The High Court of Australia (Australia’s highest appellate court) has issued its judgment in the much anticipated case of Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Patents.
In a decision that was hoped would provide clarity regarding the correct approach for assessing whether an invention directed to an electronic gaming machine was eligible for patent protection, the High Court was evenly split 3-3 (the seventh judge withdrew from the hearing due to illness).
As there was no majority, the appeal was dismissed. Aristocrat now finds itself in the unenviable position of having no clear result and no further avenue of appeal with all four innovation patents being revoked.
In the broader context, the failure to arrive at a decision either way leaves a pervading uncertainty hanging over the field of computer-implemented inventions.
Our more detailed comments on the High Court’s decision and its implications will follow shortly.