Case Law Review – T 1841/06



Claimed Subject Matter:

Integrated multilingual browser

The claimed method is essentially characterised in that the source documents are automatically translated on-the-fly at the time the user requests access to the source documents (main request), or in that the web page retrieved is translated and cached on the web server before being sent to the user (auxiliary request).


According to the claims as interpreted by the appellant, all web pages requested have been translated into the selected language before being sent to the user; this serves the aim to present to the user only the translated versions of web pages.

This aim and object of the invention is at best the result of balancing various mental preferences of the user but it is per se not a technical problem. Having the option of choosing between an original language and the preferred language might be felt as an inconvenience by one user but as an advantage by another. The invention brings about a mental simplification and subjective advantage for some users but it does not provide any objective advantage nor any technical advance in any field of technology. Such purely subjective preferences like any other non-technical aspects of an invention do not form a valid basis for a technical and inventive contribution over the prior art (for a summary of the practice of the EPO in dealing with non-technical subject matter, see for example the EPO-publication “Case Law of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office”, sixth edition, European Patent Office, July 2010, chapter I.D.8.1).

The computer implementation of the claimed methods requires only minor changes to the machine translation system of document D7. In the W3-PENSÉE type 2 system (see figure 4), for example, only the step of sending the original data need be omitted (the box in the middle of the flow diagram); then the subsequent step shown in the right box at the bottom of the flow diagram (see document D7, figure 4) fully meets the aims of the present invention. These changes to the prior art system do not involve any inventive step.

It might be argued that in the type 2 system the web pages translated are cached but not in a cache on the web server. However, it is an obvious alternative to locate the translation cache at any appropriate place in the World Wide Web other than between Internet and client. Such an alternative arrangement is shown, for example, in document D7, figure 1 in connection with the WWW server type.

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