Case Law Review – T 0037/08

Case:

T_0037/08

Claimed Subject Matter:

Method for controlling subscriber accounts in connection with a pre-paid IN platform, and a pre-paid mediator

In the example of the invention set out from line 26 of page 6 to line 11 of page 7, the charging data are only generated once the service has started running. There is a distinction to be made between delivery of a service and, in this example, delivery of the SMS. Reception of a message at a mobile switching centre is part of the SMS service and an essential part of the delivery of that service. Nevertheless, the full SMS service is not delivered and it seems that claim 1 must be read such that the charging data are sent before the service is complete. (See section 3.4.)

According to D2, a running service is stopped once funds become insufficient, and this requires that charging data are sent before the service stops running. However, it is not quite clear that this is really the same thing as sending the data before service delivery, as stated in claim 1. The Board, then, tends to the view that this feature does provide novelty. (Section 3.5.)

Comments:

The effect of this feature, as argued by the appellant, is to prevent fraud, by which the Board understands that a user should not be allowed to use a service for which funds are not available. As it stands, this effect is not a technical one, and it is necessary to consider what the corresponding technical problem is. The Board notes that the sending of data before a particular time does not imply that the data is used by the recipient before that time; it is, however, a necessary condition for such use. The technical problem can, then, be formulated in this way: allow a check to be made, before service delivery, on whether sufficient funds are available. It would be obvious to the skilled person, faced with this problem, that she would have to provide for the charging data to be sent in time. The Board does not consider that this requires anything beyond the skilled person’s general technical knowledge. Nor, apparently, does the appellant, since the application does not provide more information on this feature than the statement that it is implemented (page 4, lines 19 – 22).

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