Statutory requirements

Schemes, rules or methods for performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business

8.23 Methods that are considered mental acts or schemes are generally not inventions. These include teaching methods (such as a method of learning a language or reading), methods of mental arithmetic, methods of memorising things or methods of designing a product.

8.24 This practice is applied narrowly – for example, in Halliburton Energy Services Inc v. Smith International (North Sea) Ltd [2005] EWHC 1623, the Court found that claims to a method of designing a drill bit were sufficiently broad to also encompass the purely intellectual content of a design process, and hence the claims were deemed to be directed to a mental act. However, the Court considered that this deficiency was a matter of form and could have been overcome by the inclusion of a manufacturing step.