Federal Court finds gaming machine with novel software patentable

5 June 2020

A decision of the Federal Court today found that a gaming machine was patentable subject matter—see Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Limited v Commissioner of Patents [2020] FCA 778.  The decision relates to innovation patents prosecuted by Griffith Hack.

As outlined at [1] (of the judgement) the central question considered was “whether a claimed to an electronic gaming machine (EGM), which includes a combination of physical parts and computer software to produce a particular outcome in the form of gameplay” is for a “manner of manufacture” (the Australian patentable subject matter requirement).

The single judge decision applies the recently issued Rokt decision (see our summary here); finding the invention patentable.  In particular, the judge found that the first step of the two-step test (discussed in Rokt and other previous decisions) was satisfied. That is, the judge determined the invention was not for a “mere scheme” (step one) and therefore did not have to consider whether there was invention in the manner in which the scheme was implemented on a computer (step two). The judge also found that the invention provided “a practical and useful result” and “is a device of a specific character” (at [98]).

The decision should support patentability of machines where part of the machine is computer-implemented.