Perplexing patents test decision makers

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Every year Australian courts are required to rule in cases that raise questions about what kinds of things can or cannot be awarded patents.

A report on the latest patent law developments in Australia, conducted by Minter Ellison, highlights some of the tricky and often confusing cases which courts had to consider in 2013.
  
According to a Federal Court decision from February last year, isolated, naturally occurring DNA and RNA sequences are patentable.

The decision concerning a gene known to be associated with breast cancer susceptibility, was in direct contrast to a US ruling which rules that DNA sequences are not patentable.

On the other hand, the definitive status of computer implemented inventions is still up in the air.
 
A computerised method for assessing a person's competency was found to be patentable, while an application for a piece of financial analysis software was rejected.
   
Here are some other strange patents Australasian Lawyer has come across that must have really perplexed decision makers.  
  1.  “Bread refreshing method”
A new way of cooking bread “by heating the bread product to a high temperature and maintaining it in this temperature range for a period of three to 90 seconds."

Unluckily, this shrewd attempt to patent what most people already know and refer to as ‘toast,’ was turned down.   
 
  1.  “Method of concealing partial baldness”
A method of styling hair to cover partial baldness using only the hair on a person's head.

AKA the legendary comb over.  The patent was approved, and the inventors even went on to win an Ig Nobel prize for their trivial contribution to science.  
 
  1.  “System for walking a snake”.   
Securing a collar apparatus on a snake and then steering it with an elongated rod. 

The patent was issued, but perhaps the inventor should return to the drawing board as there's nothing to stop the snake from biting you when you put the collar on in the first place.  
 
 
 

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