The UK has held out against the idea of software patents for a while, but with Nokia pushing hard to get a patent on a piece of software related to the Symbian mobile operating system (which, ironically, Nokia has agreed to open source
), last year a court ruled
that the patent office in the UK had been too quick to dismiss the patent application, and an appeals court agreed
. So, it should probably come as no surprise at all that the patent office has now granted the patent in question
. What's amusing, though, is how it rationalizes the decision. Rather than just saying "uh, the courts said so," it claims that it allowed the patent because it's "more than just a software program," saying that the invention was a "technical contribution." Apparently, the new rules mean that as long as software makes a "technical contribution" it can be patented. But... uh... what software doesn't make a "technical contribution" of some sort?