Case Law Review – T 0698/07



Claimed Subject Matter:

The differences between the subject-matter of claim 1 and the disclosure of D1 are that the user interface of claim 1 includes information concerning at least two transactions associated with the user, instead of a single one, and that the user interface enables the user to input feedback information for the at least two transactions, instead of enabling the user only to enter feedback for a single transaction.


In the board’s judgement, the non-technical features consist in the nature of the data which is stored in the network-based facility (“transactions”), included in the user interface (“transaction information”), and inputted by the user (“feedback information”). These non-technical features relate to the harvesting of feedback pertaining to transactions, representing essentially a commercial objective, therefore relating to unpatentable subject-matter as defined in Article 52(2)(c) EPC. Thus, these features do not contribute to any technical effect. According to the case law of the boards of appeal (see e.g. T 641/00), these features cannot support the presence of inventive step and are therefore to be disregarded in the assessment of inventive step.

The technical effect of these differences is that the user can input feedback information related to two transactions using a single interface.

The technical problem can thus be formulated, based on this technical effect, as how to improve the ease of use for the user of the feedback scheme.

The appellant has mainly argued that the alleged invention is in a technical field and that each step of claim 1 is a technical step and contributes to the solution of a technical problem. The board accepts that the alleged invention is in a technical field and agrees with the definition of the technical problem by the appellant. However in the board’s judgement the technical features of claim 1 do not contribute, in combination, to an inventive step of the subject-matter of claim 1 (see paragraph 3.3 above).

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