There isn’t a simple answer "yes" or "no". However, algorithms for computers and computer programs shall not be regarded as the subject of inventions pursuant to both the Patent Act and the Utility Model Act. At the same time we know that a technical solution which solves a so far unsolved technical problem, can be protected. Solution of the technical problem has a technical effect. The word ”technical” should be highlighted.
Proceeding from the European patent practice algorithms for computers and computer programs, which are merely source codes or algorithms ("software patents") are not patentable. But computer-implemented inventions are patentable, if they are new, have technical character and involve an inventive technical contribution to the prior art. In this respect, it is important to note that computer implemented business methods do not make such technical contribution and these are simply automation of economic or mental activities, which is self-evident to the person skilled in the particular area (an engineer, a developer, a technician, etc.).
For example, on the basis of the European patent practice any systems, methods, equipment or means of purchase, sales or auctioning arrangement, if it does not offer a solution to a particular so far unsolved technical problem, cannot be granted a patent. Probably auctioning rules, known administrative or payment instruments etc. cannot be regarded as a technical problem.
By the way, temporal reference transmitted in the internet-based auction system is a technical problem due to the physical parameters of the communication channels, features and network structure. Different temporal reference in information transmission between the user equipment in different geographical locations and the auction server makes the situation of the users of the auction system unequal, as it does not enable all users worldwide to make bids simultaneously. It should be highlighted that the technical solution to this problem could not be adding an additional equalizing reference with regard to user equipment with shorter reference time of the transmission channel, as this approach would rather be circumvention of the technical character and solution of the problem than solving a real, prescribed end-use problem, i.e. the temporal reference of the communication channel.
Therefore the answer to the question "Can a computer programme or a mobile app be patented?" can be "Yes, it can" only in case the invention is new, involves an inventive step and is susceptible to industrial application.